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Proceedings Paper

Active pixel sensors: are CCDs dinosaurs?
Author(s): Eric R. Fossum
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Paper Abstract

Charge-coupled devices (CCDs) are presently the technology of choice for most imaging applications. In the 23 years since their invention in 1970, they have evolved to a sophisticated level of performance. However, as with all technologies, we can be certain that they will be supplanted someday. In this paper, the Active Pixel Sensor (APS) technology is explored as a possible successor to the CCD. An active pixel is defined as a detector array technology that has at least one active transistor within the pixel unit cell. The APS eliminates the need for nearly perfect charge transfer--the Achilles' heel of CCDs. This perfect charge transfer makes CCD's radiation 'soft,' difficult to use under low light conditions, difficult to manufacture in large array sizes, difficult to integrate with on-chip electronics, difficult to use at low temperatures, difficult to use at high frame rates, and difficult to manufacture in non-silicon materials that extend wavelength response. With the active pixel, the signal is driven from the pixel over metallic wires rather than being physically transported in the semiconductor. This paper makes a case for the development of APS technology. The state of the art is reviewed and the application of APS technology to future space-based scientific sensor systems is addressed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 1993
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 1900, Charge-Coupled Devices and Solid State Optical Sensors III, (12 July 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.148585
Show Author Affiliations
Eric R. Fossum, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1900:
Charge-Coupled Devices and Solid State Optical Sensors III
Morley M. Blouke, Editor(s)

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