The use of curved imaging sensors can improve image quality and light transmission, bulk and cost by simplifying the lens systems used to correct for planar focal plane sensors. However, up until now it is not clear that the advantage has been worth the additional cost in sensor manufacturing, particularly for consumer applications. Jahn points out that this is mainly because the manufacturing processes developed so far by the various players are manual rather than automated and for single chips at a time. Silina's process supports multi-die manufacturing and the process can be automated.
Silina is following in the footsteps of another French company Curve-One SAS founded in 2018 (see European startup pioneers curved image sensors) and something that Sony investigated back in 2014 (see Sony curves image sensors; TSMC stacks them
However, whereas Curve-one plans to produce curved sensors for specialized applications, such as scientific instrumentation, Silina is adopting a different business model. Silina plans to provide a direct "curving" service for small volume, niche customers and to license its curving process to high volume manufacturers.
Silina is offering to work with established manufacturers to produce curved versions of existing sensors for improved imaging, according to its Linkedin entry. The company offers a curving process that it claims is applicable to various types of sensors, including CMOS, charge-coupled devices (CCDs), and front- and back-side illuminated sensors, to various spectral bandwidths, from ultraviolet (UV) to visible and infrared. The curving process works at various scales, including single-chip, multi-chip and wafer-level. And various shapes can be obtained, including spherical, aspherical, freeform, and custom shapes on demand.
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