NIR ultra-low-light image sensor for security, surveillance

June 24, 2019 //By Julien Happich
image sensors
OmniVision Technologies’ OS04A10 is a 2.9 micron pixel image sensor with 4 megapixel (MP) resolution. Part of the company’s Nyxel near-infrared (NIR) and ultra-low light (ULL) sensors, the OS04A10 provides security cameras with greater zoom range and AI-enabled surveillance systems with better object identification and facial authentication accuracy.

It provides these enhancements while maintaining the industry’s best performance, day and night, for detecting incident light in both the visible and NIR wavelengths to produce even more precise color and monochrome images.

The sensor boasts an exceptional quantum efficiency (QE) of 60% at 850nm and 40% at 940nm, which the company claims is 3x to 5x better than sensors without this technology. This excellent QE enables the use of lower power IR illumination in total darkness, resulting in an estimated 3x reduction in system-level power consumption. The 940nm NIR lighting cannot be detected by human eyes in dark indoor settings, while the 850nm light is ideal for outdoor security cameras.

The amount of NIR light that a sensor requires to capture high quality images can be quantified with a new metric called NIR SNR1, which takes into account the QE, pixel size and read noise. The OS04A10 achieves industry leading SNR1850nm and SNR1940nm performance, which is 2x to 3x smaller when compared with the leading known available competitor sensors.

In other words, with the OS04A10, designers of security cameras that operate in total darkness can reduce IR illumination to consume 2x to 4x less power when compared with the competitors’ sensors, for the same environment and over the same image detection range.

The sensor produces 4 MP and 1080p images for video recording. A 3-frame staggered shutter minimizes motion artefacts and enables an HDR of 120 dB.

OmniVision Technologies -

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