Journal article

Comparison of two optimized readout chains for low light CIS

We compare the noise performance of two optimized readout chains that are based on 4T pixels and featuring the same bandwidth of 265kHz (enough to read 1Megapixel with 50frame/s). Both chains contain a 4T pixel, a column amplifier and a single slope analog-to-digital converter operating a CDS. In one case, the pixel operates in source follower configuration, and in common source configuration in the other case. Based on analytical noise calculation of both readout chains, an optimization methodology is presented. Analytical results are confirmed by transient simulations using 130nm process. A total input referred noise bellow 0.4 electrons RMS is reached for a simulated conversion gain of 160μV/e−. Both optimized readout chains show the same input referred 1/f noise. The common source based readout chain shows better performance for thermal noise and requires smaller silicon area. We discuss the possible drawbacks of the common source configuration and provide the reader with a comparative table between the two readout chains. The table contains several variants (column amplifier gain, in-pixel transistor sizes and type). © (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

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