Wide-dynamic-range CMOS image sensors - Comparative performance analysis

Arthur Spivak, Alexander Belenky, Alexander Fish, Orly Yadid-Pecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


A large variety of solutions for widening the dynamic range (DR) of CMOS image sensors has been proposed throughout the years. We propose a set of criteria upon which an effective comparative analysis of the performance of wide-DR (WDR) sensors can be done. Sensors for WDR are divided into seven categories: 1) companding sensors; 2) multimode sensors; 3) clipping sensors; 4) frequency-based sensors; 5) time-to-saturation (time-to-first spike) sensors; 6) global-control-over-the-integration-time sensors; and 7) autonomous-control-over-the-integration-time sensors. The comparative analysis for each category is based upon the quantitative assessments of the following parameters: signal-to-noise ratio, DR extension, noise floor, minimal transistor count, and sensitivity. These parameters are assessed using consistent assumptions and definitions, which are common to all WDR sensor categories. The advantages and disadvantages of each category in the sense of power consumption and data rate are discussed qualitatively. The influence of technology advancements on the proposed set of criteria is discussed as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2446-2461
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Active pixel sensor (APS)
  • CMOS image sensors (CIS)
  • Dynamic range (DR)
  • Noise floor (NF)
  • Sensitivity
  • Sensors
  • Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)


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