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Patent Issued for Solid-State Imaging Device, Manufacturing Method Thereof, and Electronic Apparatus

July 30, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventor Nakayama, Hajime (Kumamoto, JP), filed on February 4, 2013, was published online on July 15, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8780255, is Sony Corporation (JP).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a solid-state imaging device, a manufacturing method thereof, and an electronic apparatus, and more particularly, to a solid-state imaging device in which a plurality of photoelectric conversion units are disposed on an imaging surface of a substrate, and a plurality of inner-layer lenses are formed in shapes protruding in directions toward the photoelectric conversion units, a manufacturing method thereof, and an electronic apparatus.

"Electronic apparatuses such as a digital video camera and a digital camera include solid-state imaging devices. For example, the solid-state imaging device includes a CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor)-type image sensor and a CCD (Charge Coupled Device)-type image sensor.

"In the solid-state imaging devices, an image forming area in which a plurality of pixels are formed is disposed on a surface of a semiconductor substrate. In each of the plurality of pixels, a photoelectric conversion unit that generates signal electric charges by receiving incident light through a curved lens and performing photoelectric conversion for the received light is disposed. For example, a photo diode is formed as the photoelectric conversion unit.

"In the solid-state imaging device, for example, an on-chip lens is disposed on the upper side of the photoelectric conversion unit. A configuration in which an inner-layer lens is disposed between the photoelectric conversion unit and the on-chip lens has been proposed. The inner-layer lens is disposed for efficiently irradiating light that is incident through the on-chip lens onto the photoelectric conversion unit. For example, each of a plurality of inner-layer lenses are formed to have a downward convex structure protruding in directions toward the photoelectric conversion unit (for example, see JP-A-2002-359363 and JP-A-2007-324481)."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In the solid-state imaging devices, the image quality of an image that is imaged may deteriorate due to angles of main light beams, which are received by pixels, differing in accordance with the position in the image forming area.

"In particular, in a center portion of the image forming area, the angle of the main light beam incident through the curved lens is almost perpendicular to the image forming area. On the other hand, in the peripheral portion of the image forming area, the angle of the main light beam that is incident through the curved lens is tilted with respect to the direction perpendicular to the image forming area. Accordingly, there are cases where the center portion of the image that is imaged becomes a bright image, and a peripheral portion becomes a dark image, thereby deteriorating the image quality of the image that is imaged.

"In other words, there is a difference between the sensitivities of the center portion and the peripheral portion of the image forming area, and accordingly, there are cases where the image quality of an image that is imaged deteriorates.

"Accordingly, there is a need for providing a solid-state imaging device capable of improving the image quality of an image that is imaged, a manufacturing method thereof, and an electronic apparatus.

"According to an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a solid-state imaging device including: a plurality of photoelectric conversion units disposed on an imaging surface of a substrate; and a plurality of inner-layer lenses that are disposed in correspondence with each of the plurality of photoelectric conversion units on the upper side of the photoelectric conversion units and are formed in shapes protruding in directions toward the photoelectric conversion units. Each of the plurality of inner-layer lenses is formed to have different lens shapes in the center and the periphery of the imaging surface.

"According to another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided an electronic apparatus including: a plurality of photoelectric conversion units disposed on an imaging surface of a substrate; and a plurality of inner-layer lenses that are disposed in correspondence with each of the plurality of photoelectric conversion units on the upper side of the photoelectric conversion units and are formed in shapes protruding in directions toward the photoelectric conversion units. Each of the plurality of inner-layer lenses is formed to have different lens shapes in the center and the periphery of the imaging surface.

"According to another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing a solid-state imaging device. The method includes forming a plurality of inner-layer lenses in shapes protruding in directions toward a plurality of photoelectric conversion units on the upper side of the plurality of photoelectric conversion units so as to be in correspondence with each of the plurality of photoelectric conversion units disposed on an imaging surface of a substrate. In the forming of the plurality of inner-layer lenses, each of the plurality of inner-layer lenses is formed to have different lens shapes in the center and the periphery of the imaging surface.

"According to an embodiment of the present invention, as described above, by forming the lens shape of each of the plurality of inner-layer lenses to be different in the center and in the periphery of the imaging surface, occurrence of a difference between the sensitivities of the center portion and the peripheral portion of the image forming area is prevented.

"According to an embodiment of the present invention, a solid-state imaging device capable of improving the image quality of an image that is imaged, a manufacturing method thereof, and an electronic apparatus can be provided."

For more information, see this patent: Nakayama, Hajime. Solid-State Imaging Device, Manufacturing Method Thereof, and Electronic Apparatus. U.S. Patent Number 8780255, filed February 4, 2013, and published online on July 15, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8780255.PN.&OS=PN/8780255RS=PN/8780255

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, Sony Corporation.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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