TowerJazz Announces Hybrid CMOS Sensor Process

MIGDAL HAEMEK, Israel /PRNewswire/ -- TowerJazz, a global specialty foundry leader, announced its TS11IS hybrid CMOS image sensor (CIS) process offering, a combination of 0.11 µm and 0.16 µm platform. The process will allow customers to design higher resolution high-end sensors with smaller pixels and enhanced performance. The TS11IS combines TowerJazz's 0.16 µm CMOS for periphery circuits and its 0.11 µm pushed design rules for the pixel array. The process is targeted for applications in high end photography, machine vision, 3D imaging and security sensors. According to Yole Development, the forecast for high-end CMOS image sensors is expected to be approximately $2 billion in 2015, with a CAGR of 13%.

The new platform, based on Tower's 0.16 µm CMOS shrink process, will allow easy re-use of existing customers' 0.18 µm circuit IP, which will save them from investing in resources to redesign existing blocks and increase the probability for first time success. The TS11IS offers improved pixel performance, smaller pixel pitch, higher resolution, improved sensitivity, and improved angular response. It allows up to 50% reduction of pixel size, mainly for high-end global shutter pixels. The platform includes a new local interconnect layer to allow denser metallization routing in pixels while maintaining good quantum efficiency. It also includes tighter design rules for all metal layers and implant layers, as well as provides a Bathtub option for lower stack height, improving the sensors' angular response.

"By allowing significantly smaller pixels, higher resolution, and enhanced pixel performance, our new platform ideally serves our customers' needs for the professional CIS markets, allowing them to create new business opportunities, expand the span of applications accessible for their designs, and enlarge their market share," said Jonathan Gendler, Director of CMOS Image Sensors Marketing.

"We have received enthusiastic feedback from all of our customers on the opportunity to keep working with our established process environment and reuse their design block IP, while being able to shrink the pixel array and die size. This new platform not only improves the cost model of their products, but at the same time enhances device performance."

The new hybrid CIS process platform will be offered for prototyping for select customers in Q3 2012, and for production towards the end of 2012.

TowerJazz is sponsoring and exhibiting at Image Sensors 2012 in London on March 20–22, 2012, and will showcase its CIS process offerings.

About TowerJazz
Tower Semiconductor Ltd., its fully owned U.S. subsidiary Jazz Semiconductor Ltd., and its fully owned Japanese subsidiary TowerJazz Japan Ltd., operate collectively under the brand name TowerJazz, the global specialty foundry leader. TowerJazz manufactures integrated circuits with geometries ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 micron, offering a broad range of customizable process technologies, including SiGe, BiCMOS, mixed signal and RFCMOS, CMOS image sensor, power management (BCD), and nonvolatile memory (NVM), as well as CMOS and MEMS capabilities. TowerJazz also offers a world-class design enablement platform that complements its sophisticated technology and enables a quick and accurate design cycle. In addition, TowerJazz provides Technology Optimization Process Services to IDMs, as well as fabless companies that need to expand capacity or progress from an R&D line to a production line. To provide multi-fab sourcing, TowerJazz maintains two manufacturing facilities in Israel, one in the U.S., and one in Japan, with additional capacity available in China through manufacturing partnerships.