Power Electronics

Camera ICs sensitive for visible and near infra-red light

Belgium-based Melexis N.V. introduced two automotive-grade CMOS camera ICs for safety and driver assistance applications, the 352 x 288 CIF resolution MLX75006 and 750x400 PVGA resolution MLX75007, both available in color and black & white versions.

Target applications include lane tracking for departure warning, collision avoidance, occupancy detection for smart airbags, driver vigilance monitoring, blind spot detection, night vision, park assist, road signs recognition and automatic headlamp control.

Melexis technology spokesman Arnaud Darmont says those automotive applications require a new kind of image sensor, one less costly and without the “blooming” or other performance downsides of parts based on charge-coupled device technology, but with the dynamic range lacking in consumer-grade CMOS sensors.

Melexis’ chips are focus free and require no adjustment, according to Darmont. They feature programmable pixel response with linear, multiple slopes or logarithmic behavior that can be used to reach the required level of dynamic range.

“Under customer control, this pixel operates as a global shutter, a feature similar to CCDs but previously impossible in CMOS sensors,” he notes. The global shuttering feature--also called synchronous shutter, or “snapshot,”--avoids the picture lag or skewing that appears when the imager is in motion.

Darmont says a low leakage fabrication process and built-in temperature compensation capabilities such as offset compensation, leaking pixel detection and interpolation, enable the chips to operate from -40 to 105 °C.

An overmolded plastic package with optional integrated glass lens stack simplifies assembly and protects the chips and their bond wires against scratches and light.

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