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Sony announces IMX459 stacked SPAD depth sensor for automotive LiDAR applications using dToF method

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation today announced the upcoming release of the IMX459 stacked SPAD depth sensor for automotive LiDAR applications using direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) method, an industry first. Sony IMX459 SPAD ToF depth sensor for automotive LiDAR applications employs a stacked configuration, where a Cu-Cu connection is used to achieve conduction for each pixel between the back-illuminated SPAD pixel chip (top) and the logic chip equipped with distance measuring processing circuit (bottom). This allows for a configuration with circuit placed on the bottom of the pixel chip, maintaining a high aperture ratio while resulting in a small 10 μm square pixel size.

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The unique stacked construction enables high-speed, high-precision distance measuring at 15-centimeter range resolutions from long-range to short -range distances, thereby contributing to improved automotive LiDAR detection and recognition performance. Sony IMX459 SPAD ToF depth sensor for automotive LiDAR applications packs the tiny, 10 μm square single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) pixels and distance measuring processing circuit onto a single chip, making for a compact 1/2.9-type form factor delivering high-precision, high-speed distance measurement.

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The new Sony IMX459 sensor helps contribute to safe, secure future mobility by improving automotive LiDAR detection and recognition performance required with the popularization of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD).

Sony has also developed a mechanical scanning LiDAR reference design equipped with this new product, which is now being offered to customers and partners. Providing the design will help customers and partners save on man-hours in the LiDAR development process as well as reduce costs by optimizing device selection.