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STMicroelectronics’ Near Infrared (NIR) Camera Sensor in Apple iPhone X with multiple innovations for True Depth Module - System Plus Consulting

STMicroelectronics’ Near Infrared Camera Sensor in the Apple iPhone X

Published
20/12/2017
Product code
SP17378
Price
EUR 3 490
Applications
Consumer
Available sample Available flyer Ask for info

The first NIR camera sensor with multiple innovations based on imager-silicon-on-insulator substrates from SOITEC, supplied and produced by STMicroelectronics for the Apple True Depth Module.

Ahead of all its competitors, Apple has started using 3D sensing. For the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, it integrated this new functionality, under the name of ‘True Depth sensing’. Rather than scene sensing, like competitors such as Lenovo, the 3D Time of Flight system provided by STMicroelectronics and ams enables face recognition and targets security applications. Working along with a dot projector, the near infrared (NIR) camera sensor allows high-precision depth sensing. This NIR camera sensor is the first to feature Imager-Substrate On Insulator (SOI) technology provided by SOITEC, allowing higher quantum efficiency with very low noise.

Located in the iPhone X’s front, around the main speaker, the True Depth system is packaged in one metal enclosure. The system features a dot projector, a red/green/blue camera and a NIR camera sensor. The latter device, provided by STMicroelectronics, is a NIR camera sensor based on an Imager-SOI substrate, involving multiple innovations.

The SOI substrate allows high quantum efficiency and reduces noises from the substrate. Combined with STMicroelectronics’ knowledge of NIR sensing technology, the sensor die has very small pixels, less than 4 µm long, and high resolution of almost two megapixels, thanks to STMicroelectronics’ new technology node, reaching below 140 nm on SOI. This allows the sensor to precisely detect  faces to unlock the smartphone in a very short response time. The use of deep trenches coupled with SOI substrates provides high dynamic range pixels. This camera assembly uses stud bumping to connect the sensor die in flip-chip configuration, along with an optical module comprising four lenses.

This report analyzes the complete NIR camera sensor, including a complete analysis of the module and the sensor die, along with a cost analysis and a price estimate for the device. It also includes a physical and technical comparison with other NIR image sensors for 3D sensing, such as those from Infineon, pmd and Tower Semiconductor for consumer applications, Melexis for automotive, and Texas Instruments for industrial applications.

 

STMicroelectronics’ Near Infrared (NIR) Camera Sensor in Apple iPhone X with multiple innovations for True Depth Module - System Plus Consulting STMicroelectronics’ Near Infrared (NIR) Camera Sensor in Apple iPhone X with multiple innovations for True Depth Module - System Plus Consulting STMicroelectronics’ Near Infrared (NIR) Camera Sensor in Apple iPhone X with multiple innovations for True Depth Module - System Plus Consulting

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Overview / Introduction

STMicroelectronics Company Profile

Apple iPhone X – Teardown

Physical Analysis

  • Physical Analysis Methodology
  • Module
    • View and dimensions
    • Module disassembly
    • Module cross-section: Overview, filter, substrate
  • Sensor Die
    • View, dimensions, and markings
    • Pixels, pads
    • Die process
    • Cross-section: substrate, pads, photodiode, metal layers
  • Physical Data Summary

Physical Comparison: Infineon/pmd, Tower Semiconductor, Melexis,
Texas Instruments

  • NIR Image Sensor View and Dimensions
  • Estimated Pixel Performance
  • Pixel Form

Manufacturing Process Flow

  • Sensor – Die Process
  • Sensor – Wafer Fabrication Unit
  • Sensor Process Flow

Cost Analysis

  • Cost Analysis Overview
  • Main Steps Used in the Economic Analysis
  • Yield Hypotheses
  • Sensor Die Cost
    • Front-end (FE) cost
    • Microlens front-end cost
    • Total front-end cost
    • Back-end – tests and dicing
    • Wafer and die cost
  • Module Assembly Cost
  • Lens Module Cost
  • Final Assembly Cost
  • Module Cost

Estimated Price Analysis

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