Report: Apple acquires image sensor pioneer InVisage

October 31, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Apple has acquired quantum film pioneer InVisage Technologies Inc. (Newark, Calif.), according to a report from Image Sensor World that references unnamed sources.

The deal closed in about July 2017, according to the report While the deal has not been announced the report states that some InVisage employees have joined Apple while others are looking for jobs elsewhere. Attempts were made to contact InVisage but no reply was received by the time this story was posted.

Evidence that support that InVisage has been bought include the fact that founder and CTO Professor Ted Sargent left the company in 2016 and that two venture capital investors in InVisage – Nokia Growth Partners and InterWest Partners – both count InVisage as a company they have exited from.

InVisage was founded in 2006 to leverage research at the University of Toronto by Professor Sargent into the use of quantum dot films as light absorbers for image sensor pixels. The quantum-dot material is a II-VI metal-chalcogenide that can be configured as an efficient photodiode allowing thinner films than the active depth in conventional silicon photodiodes.

The claimed advantages of QuantumFilm include reduced camera height, high dynamic range, global shutter and enhanced low-light performance compared with silicon.

The company raised more than $100 million in venture capital and used some of this money to build a fabrication facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan. This fab is used for a small but key part of the production process, the laying down of the QuantumFilm material on CMOS wafers. For the rest of its manufacturing process InVisage has used foundry TSMC and packaging and test companies (see InVisage, TSMC, join forces for image sensor attack ).

Although InVisage was sampling a 13 megapixel image sensor in 2015 it did not appear to gain any design wins in 2016 or 2017 and the company fell silent.

Related links and articles:

www.invisage.com

News articles:

InVisage ready to share image sensor technology

CEO interview: InVisage's Lee discusses an image sensor revolution

InVisage, TSMC, join forces for image sensor attack

15-in-15: Analog, MEMS and sensor startups


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