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Cypress Semiconductor Corp.'s logo. Click here to visit the Cypress Semiconductor website! Cypress: 9mpix APS-C image sensor
(Monday, November 7, 2005 - 14:16 EST)

A press release published today by Cypress Semiconductor Corp. announces that the company is now offering samples of a nine megapixel CMOS image sensor with dimensions near to the size of an APS-C film frame.

Cypress Semiconductor completed acquisition of Belgian sensor company FillFactory NV in August 2004. FillFactory was the supplier of full-frame image sensors for Kodak Professional's DCS Pro 14n, SLR/n and SLR/c digital cameras, and the new sensor is said to be based on the same pixel architecture used in those imagers.

Available in two variants - either color or monochrome - the new imager has dimensions of 23.3 x 15.5mm, which yields a focal length crop of about 1.5x when compared to 35mm film, and an aspect ratio of 3:2. Sensor resolution is 3710 x 2434 square pixels for a total resolution of nine megapixels, and pixel pitch is 6.4 microns. The sensor doesn't use microlenses, and is said to be capable of delivering five frames-per-second at full resolution, or 20 fps at VGA resolution (although it isn't specified if the latter is achieved using the entire sensor area and discarding unused pixels / combining them with adjacent pixels - which would mean that the data could potentially be used for a live "preview" image as in Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-R1 model, or by cropping only the central area from the image. The sensor requires a 3.3V supply voltage to operate.

Wholesale pricing for the new sensor is expected to be in the region of US$90.00 apiece, which should be conducive to use in interchangeable and fixed lens cameras aimed at the consumer market.

Thanks to Peter K. Burian for this item!

Original Source Press Release:

Cypress Samples Low-Cost, 9-Megapixel APS CMOS Image Sensors With Superior Image Quality for High-End Digital Still Camera Market

First Cypress-Manufactured Sensor Features Low Dark Current and Low Noise to Deliver Picture Quality On Par With More Expensive CCD Devices

SAN JOSE, Calif., November 7, 2005 - Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY) today announced commercial sampling of its new 9.0-megapixel CMOS image sensors for high-end digital still cameras (DSCs). The cost-effective new image sensors offer low dark current and low noise, on par with that of more expensive charge coupled devices (CCDs). These features deliver outstanding image quality, enabling camera makers to meet the increasing demand for high-performance, economically priced single-lens reflex (SLR) DSCs.

The CYIHDSC9000AA (color) and CYIHDSM9000AA (monochrome) are the first image sensors manufactured on Cypress's high-volume, low-cost 0.13-micron CMOS process optimized for image sensors. The image sensors take advantage of Cypress's proprietary, high fill-factor pixel architecture, eliminating the need for microlenses. With a maximum resolution of 3710 x 2434 pixels, the sensors are capable of delivering superior image quality, color rendition and dynamic range. They are ideally suited for camera-makers targeting advanced amateurs, photo enthusiasts and professional photographers.

"Low dark current and low noise are essential for today's high-end DSC market," said Cliff Drowley, vice president and general manager of Cypress's image sensor business unit. "Our patented pixel architecture, proven in Kodak's DCS Pro SLR line of cameras, is the only CMOS architecture capable of achieving the noise and dark current targets demanded by high-end DSC manufacturers. What is equally attractive to camera makers is this high-end solution does not come with a high-end price."

The new devices are Cypress's first non-proprietary image sensor targeted at high-end DSCs and build on a foundation established by the 13.85-megapixel image sensor developed for Kodak. The sensors also complement a stable of other Cypress products targeted at the DSC market, including timing solutions and USB controllers.

The image sensors feature a pixel pitch of 6.4-micron and an image array of 3710 x 2434 pixels. The array format is 23.3-mm x 15.5-mm2 with a diagonal dimension of 28-mm, resulting in an effective focal length multiplier of 1.5 compared to a full frame 35-mm camera. The aspect ratio is 3:2. The devices are capable of delivering five frames-per-second (fps) at full resolution and 20 fps at VGA resolution.

Price and Availability
Cypress is currently sampling the CYIHDSC9000AA and CYIHDSM9000AA with production volumes expected to be available in February of 2006. Pricing is expected to be approximately $90.00 each, depending on quantities. A high-resolution photo is available at www.cypress.com/9-megapixelAPS.

Cypress Image Sensors
Cypress's broad CMOS image sensor portfolio spans both the high-end and consumer mass markets. Cypress delivers high-performance sensors for custom and high-end digital photography; ultra high-speed imaging solutions for automotive safety, machine vision and motion analysis; and consumer-oriented solutions for ultra-slim digital still cameras, single-use cameras and camera-enabled mobile devices." CMOS image sensors complement Cypress's technology and market strengths. The sensors expand Cypress's existing presence in digital still cameras, where it sells a broad array of timing solutions; in the automotive sector, where it sells configurable microcontrollers and memories; and in mobile phones where it is a leader in low-power memories.

About Cypress
Cypress solutions are at the heart of any system that is built to perform: consumer, computation, data communications, automotive, industrial, and solar power. Leveraging a strong commitment to customer service and performance-based process and manufacturing expertise, Cypress's product portfolio includes a broad selection of wired and wireless USB devices, CMOS image sensors, timing solutions, network search engines, specialty memories, high-bandwidth synchronous and micropower memory products, optical solutions, and reconfigurable mixed-signal arrays. Cypress stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CY. More information about the company is available online at www.cypress.com.

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Cypress and the Cypress logo are registered trademarks and Autobrite and PSoC are trademarks of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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