This paper presents preliminary evaluation results of a test sensor of the backside-illuminated ISIS, an ultra-high
sensitivity and ultra-high speed CCD image sensor. To achieve ultra-high sensitivity, the CCD image sensor employs the
following three technologies: backside illumination, cooling and Charge Carrier Multiplication (CCM). The test sensor
has been designed, fabricated and evaluated. At room temperature without cooling, the video camera has about ten-time
higher sensitivity than the previous one, which was supported by a conventional front side illumination technology.
Furthermore, the video camera can detect images at very low signal level, less than 5 e-, by using CCM at -40 degree C.
A feasibility study is presented for an image sensor capable of image capturing at 100 Mega-frames per second (Mfps). The basic structure of the sensor is the backside-illuminated ISIS, the in-situ storage image sensor, with slanted linear CCD memories, which has already achieved 1 Mfps with very high sensitivity. There are many potential technical barriers to further increase the frame rate up to 100 Mfps, such as traveling time of electrons within a pixel, Resistive-Capacitive (RC) delay in driving voltage transfer, heat generation, heavy electro-magnetic noises, etc. For each of the barriers, a countermeasure is newly proposed and the technical and practical possibility is examined mainly by simulations. The new technical proposals include a special wafer with n and p double epitaxial layers with smoothly changing doping profiles, a design method with curves, the thunderbolt bus lines, and digitalnoiseless image capturing by the ISIS with solely sinusoidal driving voltages. It is confirmed that the integration of these technologies is very promising to realize a practical image sensor with the ultra-high frame rate.
We are developing an ultra-high-sensitivity and ultra-high-speed imaging system for bioscience, mainly for imaging of microbes with visible light and cells with fluorescence emission. Scarcity of photons is the most serious problem in applications of high-speed imaging to the scientific field. To overcome the problem, the system integrates new technologies consisting of (1) an ultra-high-speed video camera with sub-ten-photon sensitivity with the frame rate of more than 1 mega frames per second, (2) a microscope with highly efficient use of light applicable to various unstained and fluorescence cell observations, and (3) very powerful long-pulse-strobe Xenon lights and lasers for microscopes. Various auxiliary technologies to support utilization of the system are also being developed. One example of them is an efficient video trigger system, which detects a weak signal of a sudden change in a frame under ultra-high-speed imaging by canceling high-frequency fluctuation of illumination light. This paper outlines the system with its preliminary evaluation results.