This paper describes a new methodology we have developed for microlens optimization for CMOS image sensors in order to achieve good optical performances. On one hand, the real pixel is simulated in an optical simulation software and on the other hand simulation results are post-processed with a numerical software.
In a first part, we describe our methodology. We start from the pixel layout description from standard micro-electronic CAD software and we generate a three-dimensional model on an optical ray tracing software. This optical model aims to be as realistic as possible taking into account the geometrical shape of all the components of the pixel and the optical properties of the materials. A specific ray source has also been developed to simulate the pixel illumination in real conditions (behind an objective lens). After the optical simulation itself, the results are transferred to another software for more convenient post-processing where we use as photosensitive area a weighted surface determined from the fit of angular response simulation results to the measurements. Using this surface we count the ray density inside the substrate to evaluate the simulated output signal of the sensor.
Then we give some results obtained with that simulation process. At first, the optimization of the microlens parameters for different pixel pitches (from 5.6um to 4um). We also have studied the polarization effects inside the pixel. Finally, we compare the measured and the simulated vignetting of the sensor, demonstrating the relevance of our optical simulation process and allowing us to study solutions for a pixel pitch of 3μm and less.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.