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A 256×256 time-of-flight image sensor based on center-tap demodulation pixel structure

Abstract

This paper proposes a 256 × 256 time-of-flight (TOF) image sensor based on the center-tap (CT) demodulation pixel structure. The image sensor can capture both the two-dimensional (2D) high speed image and the three-dimensional (3D) depth image. The CT pixel consists of two split pinned photodiode (PPD) regions and two pairs of transfer transistors. The transfer transistors adopt a non-uniform doped channel (NUDC) structure, which can increase the electron transfer speed along the transfer channel and eliminate the image lag for high speed imaging. The pixel size is 10 µm × 10 µm, and we design the implementation process of the pixel to increase the electron transfer speed. The sensor is fabricated in a 0.18 µm 1P5M CMOS image sensor process. Test results show that it can capture the 430-fps intensity image and the 90-fps depth image in two different imaging modes. The rectified non-linearity within the 1.0–7.5 m depth measurement range achieves less than 3 cm, and the measurement accuracy achieves 4.0 cm at 2.5 m, corresponding to the relative error of 1.6%.

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Correspondence to Nanjian Wu.

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Chen, Z., Di, S., Cao, Z. et al. A 256×256 time-of-flight image sensor based on center-tap demodulation pixel structure. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 59, 042409 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-015-5453-0

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Keywords

  • CMOS image sensor
  • demodulation pixel
  • depth image
  • pinned photodiode
  • time-of-flight (TOF)