OmniVision is already the the largest supplier of CMOS image sensors in the world, and now its new OmniBSITM chip design promises the world's first consumer 8-megapixel cellphone camera. The new chip uses a technique that's been around for a while, called backside illumination, that allows more light to reach each pixel. And that allows the chip to use a small 1.4-micron pixel that's better than current larger versions.

Normal CMOS sensors use "front side" illumination: incoming light travels through many shallow layers of electronics before hitting the sensor pixels themselves. Backside illumination simply turns all that the other way up, so that incoming photons don't have to journey through interfering layers before they hit the pixels. That means less get lost along the way, meaning the pixels are more sensitive to light, and can be made smaller for the same responsiveness.


OmniVision is busy testing an 8-megapixel camera sensor, and is ready to start shipping sample products out before the end of June. And that should mean that at some point in the future cellphones with 8-megapixel sensors will be available. [PR Newswire]