An Area-Efficient up/down Double-Sampling Circuit for a LOFIC CMOS Image Sensor

2023 May

Authors Ai Otani*, Hiroaki Ogawa*, Ken Miyauchi, Sangman Han, Hideki Owada, Isao Takayanagi and Shunsuke Okura*
(*Ritsumeikan University)

MDPI sensors

A lateral overflow integration capacitor (LOFIC) complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor can realize high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging with combination of a low-conversion-gain (LCG) signal for large maximum signal electrons and a high-conversion-gain (HCG) signal for electron-referred noise floor. However, LOFIC-CMOS image sensor requires a two-channel read-out chain for LCG and HCG signals whose polarities are inverted. In order to provide an area-efficient LOFIC-CMOS image sensor, a one-channel read-out chain that can process both HCG and LCG signals is presented in this paper. An up/down double-sampling circuit composed of an inverting amplifier for HCG signals and a non-inverting attenuator for LCG signals can reduce the area of the read-out chain by half compared to the conventional two-channel read-out chain. A test chip is fabricated in a 0.18 μm CMOS process with a metal–insulator–metal (MIM) capacitor, achieving a readout noise of 130 μVrmsVrms for the HCG signal and 1.19 V for the LCG input window. The performance is equivalent to 103 dB of the dynamic range with our previous LOFIC pixel in which HCG and LCG conversion gains are, respectively, 160 μV/e−V/e− and 10 μV/e−V/e−.