Today´s standard procedure for the examination of the colon uses a digital endoscope located at the tip of a tube encasing wires for camera read out, fibers for illumination, and mechanical structures for steering and navigation. On the other hand, there are swallowable capsules incorporating a miniaturized camera which are more cost effective, disposable, and less unpleasant for the patient during examination but cannot be navigated along the path through the colon. We report on the development of a miniaturized endoscopic camera as part of a completely wireless capsule which can be safely and accurately navigated and controlled from the outside using an electromagnet. The endoscope is based on a global shutter CMOS-imager with 640x640 pixels and a pixel size of 3.6μm featuring through silicon vias. Hence, the required electronic connectivity is done at its back side using a ball grid array enabling smallest lateral dimensions. The layout of the f/5-objective with 100° diagonal field of view aims for low production cost and employs polymeric lenses produced by injection molding. Due to the need of at least one-time autoclaving, high temperature resistant polymers were selected. Optical and mechanical design considerations are given along with experimental data obtained from realized demonstrators.
This paper presents a digital image sensor SOC featuring a total chip area (including dicing tolerances) of 0.34mm<sup>2</sup> for endoscopic applications. Due to this extremely small form factor the sensor enables integration in endoscopes, guide wires and locater devices of less than 1mm outer diameter. The sensor embeds a pixel matrix of 10'000 pixels with a pitch of 3um x 3um covered with RGB filters in Bayer pattern. The sensor operates fully autonomous, controlled by an on chip ring oscillator and readout state machine, which controls integration AD conversion and data transmission, thus the sensor only requires 4 pin's for power supply and data communication. The sensor provides a frame rate of 40Frames per second over a LVDS serial data link. The endoscopic application requires that the sensor must work without any local power decoupling capacitances at the end of up to 2m cabling and be able to sustain data communication over the same wire length without deteriorating image quality. This has been achieved by implementation of a current mode successive approximation ADC and current steering LVDS data transmission. An band gap circuit with -40dB PSRR at the data frequency was implemented as on chip reference to improve robustness against power supply ringing due to the high series inductance of the long cables. The B&W versions of the sensor provides a conversion gain of 30DN/nJ/cm<sup>2</sup> at 550nm with a read noise in dark of 1.2DN when operated at 2m cable. Using the photon transfer method according to EMVA1288 standard the full well capacity was determined to be 18ke-. According to our knowledge the presented work is the currently world smallest fully digital image sensor. The chip was designed along with a aspheric single surface lens to assemble on the chip without increasing the form factor. The extremely small form factor of the resulting camera permit's to provide visualization with much higher than state of the art spatial resolution in sub 1mm endoscopic applications, where so far only optical fiber bundles providing 1k - 3k image points could be used. In many applications, such as guide wires and locater devices the small form factor permits to implement visualization for the first time.
This paper presents a digital line-scan sensor in standard CMOS technology for high resolution scanning application in machine vision, mainly surface inspection of large panel and web materials. The sensor however has due to the unprecedented resolution also application potential in earth observation and motion picture context. The sensor features 16384 charge integrating pixels of 3.5um x 3.5um photo active area. Each pixel has it's own charge integrating transconductance amplifier circuit, a true correlated double sampling stage, sample & hold stage and a pixel level 13 bit linear AD converter. Readout is performed over 16 parallel digital output tap's operated at 50MHz pixel clock. The sensor generates at maximum speed a total data rate of 10.4Gbit/s. In order to maximize the integration time, data readout, AD conversion and integration can be performed simultaneously. Therefore even at the maximum line rate of 43kScans/second the integration time can be maintained at 20us. In order to accommodate for different application scenarios with very different lighting budget's, the sensors full well capacity can be programmed by means of a two step programmable gain from 3000e- to 40ke-. The prototype characterization results showed a total quantum efficiency of 72% at 625nm. With the full well capacity set to 26ke- the conversion gain was measured to be 0.13DN/e- with a read noise in dark of 1.7DN, or 12 e- dark noise equivalent. Over all DSNU is reduced to 3DN rms independent of the conversion gain by the on chip combination of CDS and digital DSNU correction. PRNU was measured according the EMVA1288 standard to 1.2% rms. The sensor is mounted on an "Invar" enforced COB board without glass cover for reduced reflections on optical interface stacks. Instead of traditional package leads SMD mounted board to board connectors are used for the electrical connections.