European startup pioneers curved image sensors
Curve-one claims the part is the first commercial curved sensor for a scientific application. It is a 12Mpixel image sensor with a radius of curvature of 150mm and 5-micron pixel size.
The company was formed to commercialize 8 years of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and was founded in 2018. It’s business model is to sell high performance, wide field, compact and lightweight cameras, custom for professional applications.
Curved focal plane image sensors have been the subject of research for many years (see Sony curves image sensors; TSMC stacks them from back in 2014). However, the additional complexity makes it costly and a requirement that can only be justified where extreme precision is required in the image, such as astronomical measurement.
Curve-one is now targeting the mass production of its curved sensor, with the support of the European Commission as well as the support of the European Space Agency. It is not clear which foundries will support Curved-one in getting curved CMOS image sensors made.
The company was founded by Sebastien and Emmanuel Hugot. Emmanuel is an astrophysicist at CNRS and co-founder and CSO at Curve-one while Sebastien serves as CEO.
The company argues that in time curved focal plane sensors will become standard for consumer applications such as camera phones, autonomous cars and drones as well as for the more obvious applications in military instruments, satellites and bio-medical instruments.
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