Sony has announced that it has invested $475 million (40 billion yen) into its Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation’s Kumamoto Technology Centre in a bid to increase production for its “Exmor” and “Exmor R” CMOS image sensors.
A CMOS chip is pixel sensor, which is used in digital cameras and is made using a semiconductor process. An extra circuitry next to each photo sensor converts the light energy to a voltage. It's used in cameras such as Nikon's, Canon's and of course Sony's offerings.
The new investment is higher than the original figure Sony put aside for the second half of 2010. It was however included in the company's capital expediture, which it released at the end of June
It is as a result of the increasing demands for this technology, which have grown due to the recent boom in smartphones, which require cameras with high image quality and high sensitivity capabilities. Sony has also said it will help cover the demand for this technology which is used in lighter and more compact digital cameras as well as high quality Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras.
Sony currently provides two CMOS image sensor models: Exmor, which uses technology that reduces noise and Exmor R, which applies a back-illuminated technology to enhance image and reduce noise.
Exmor R (with a diameter of 200mm) has been in mass production since 2009 at the company's Kyushu plant. However the new cash injection will now enable the company to begin the mass production of “Exmor R” on wafer lines (with a diameter of 300mm), which it says will benefit the mobile phone camera industry.