What to Look for in a High-Resolution CMOS Sensor

What to Look for in a HighResolution CMOS SensorComplementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensors have advanced greatly since the days when charged coupled device (CCD) sensors were widely seen as the most advanced solution on the market. Today, the most demanding applications are requiring high resolution CMOS sensors to meet ever-increasing speed and quality requirements.

As CMOS sensors have evolved, they’ve become more diverse to meet a wider range of application needs. Not all high-resolution sensors will work in every environment that calls for high resolution. There are a few things to look for to determine whether a sensor is right for your application.

Features to Examine in a High-Resolution CMOS Sensor

Whether it’s for intelligent traffic systems, aerial mapping, medical imaging, astronomy, digital archiving, or the myriad of other potential high-resolution applications, there are a few common things to look for in a high-resolution CMOS sensor.

Pixel Size

A CMOS sensor may boast ultra-high resolutions, but if the pixels aren’t small enough the sensor may not fit into your design. A sensor with high pixel counts and large pixels will be big, which is unmanageable in many scenarios where a sensor must be integrated into another design, for example aerial imaging with drones.

Pixel Design

Small pixels are desirable in a high-resolution CMOS sensor, but not if they come with the tradeoff of poor image quality. Sensors with small pixels may be susceptible to light leaking from one pixel to another – a phenomenon called crosstalk that can ruin image quality. If a sensor has small pixel sizes, ensure there’s a wire grid structure or other design element to prevent crosstalk.

Frame Rate

CMOS sensors with high resolutions tend to have lower frame rates than other CMOS sensors. While a sensor may achieve the resolution you need, it will not capture the quality images you need without achieving enough frames per second – it’s important to evaluate the speed of the sensor.

Pixel Readout

High-resolution CMOS sensors capture an enormous amount of light that must be quickly transferred to maintain the integrity of image capture. Often, pixel readout is slow for high-resolution CMOS sensors, limiting the overall speed of the sensor. It’s important to make sure a CMOS sensor deploys some form of novel pixel readout technology to ensure higher speeds.

There are many different high-resolution CMOS sensors on the market today, but not all of them will be ideal for your application. The few things listed above should be looked at for any CMOS sensor for high-resolution applications.

To learn more on this subject, download our ebook “Top 6 Considerations When Selecting a High-Performance CMOS Sensor.”