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VIZTA sounds for Vision, Identification, with Z-sensing Technologies and key Applications.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VIZTA (VIZTA sounds for Vision, Identification, with Z-sensing Technologies and key Applications.)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-04-30

The VIZTA project aims to capitalize on and to further develop innovative technologies in the field of optical sensors and sources for short, medium and long-range 3D sensing and to demonstrate their value in 6 key applications.
The key differentiating technologies developed within VIZTA are:
• innovative Silicon single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) technology based on a dedicated 12-inch process and intended for direct Time-of-Flight optical sensors;
• pioneering lock-in pixel technology based on an advanced 12-inch CMOS process and intended for indirect Time-of-Flight optical sensors;
• ground-breaking and cost-effective 12-inch wafer level optics including the development of NIR bandpass thin-film filters, no angle-shift NIR bandpass filters, RGB+Z on-chip filtering.
• complex RGB+Z pixel architectures for multimodal 2D/3D imaging.
• New Hybrid Bonding (wafer stacking) solutions and inspection techniques
For short-range depth map applications, multi-channel VCSEL sources, including wafer-level GaAs optics and associated high-speed driver, will be developed and validated within this project.
For medium and long range automotive LiDARs, VIZTA supports the development of:
• high performance laser sources for medium and long range,
• full solid-state laser beam steering with optical-phased-array for medium range, MEMS micromirrors for long range,
• cost-effective InGaAs photodiodes for long range LiDAR detector.
The developed differentiating technologies serve as a basis for the design of innovative 3D imaging sensors products with the following porotypes demonstrators:
• high resolution Time-of-Flight ranging sensor module with integrated VCSEL, drivers, filters and optics;
• very High resolution (VGA+) depth camera sensor with integrated filters and optics.
The following markets will be directly addressed during VIZTA through 6 applications demonstrators:
• automotive in-cabin with two leading end-users, IEE that benefit from DFKI skills in artificial intelligence, Ficomirrors that will focus on driver monitoring,
• smart building, also targeted by IEE,
• security, with Idemia OEM collaborating with CEA-List that will bring its expertise in neural networks,
• automotive medium-range LiDAR, led by Ibeo with a strong partnership with ST, III-V Lab and CEA-Leti,
• automotive long-range LiDAR, pursued by Veoneer with the support of component integrators (Lumibird, Keopsys Industries and Beamagine) and Polytechnic University of Catalonia,
• industry 4.0 with a demonstrator developed in collaboration between two SMEs, Integrated Systems Development and BCB Informatica, with the support of the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science in Latvia,
• mobile robotics for smart cities, with Eurecat Technology Centre that bring its expertise in robotics.
All WPs have started in line with the Grant Agreement. Within those first 12 months, thanks to a performant implication of all partners and to the results of the previous EU funded project POLIS, some early achievements are already available.
For short range Z-sensors and associated technologies: STMicroelectronics Crolles, Grenoble and Edinburgh sites, in cooperation with CEA-Leti, already designed and fabricated several silicon technology test-chips (new pixels for Z-sensing, new filters and lenses for RGB-Z pixels). Some test-chip characterization work took place within this period and some are planned to begin in coming months due to Covid19 sanitary crisis induced delays.
The base-line technologies for ToF and IToF sensors (SPAD 3D and Lock-in pixels) test-chips processed at ST Crolles were designed, fabricated and tested - despite sanitary crisis - thanks to high automation level of the plant and highly protective sanitary barriers in ST factories and sites as well as massive remote working solutions put in place.
Those technologies will permit ST to propose innovative 3D-image sensors with unprecedent performance in terms of resolution, speed and consumption in the coming Period 2.A first version of high-resolution VGA+ sensor was designed and fabricated by ST during this first 12 months.
TRUMPF Photonic Components GmbH developed, fabricated and tested a VCSEL array Test-chip for process steps optimization and performed its characterization as well as the analysis of future Z-sensors illumination needs. Routes for improvements along the next project phases are identified.
Double-stacked hybrid bonding short Loop wafers have been provided by ST to SEMILAB for first characterization using various measurement technics. Process integration carried out at CEA has shown good progress to develop an alternative to existing solutions.
For future generation of LIDARs, III-V Lab developed, fabricated and characterized various high power and high-quality laser diodes sources. Promising results in term of efficiency and purity and power capability are obtained.
CEA-Leti, with STMicroelectronics Crolles and Grenoble sites, developed several generations of Optical Phase Array for laser beam steering. First generation was fabricated and tested with analysis of performance limitations and a second generation was designed and launched in fabrication.
III-V Lab designed and fabricated and tested on wafers a first version of InGaAs PIN detector for Long range LiDAR specifications.
All VIZTA applications partners have started to define the use-cases and the development of the demonstration landscape in various key growing sectors: Security, Automotive, Industry 4.0 Smart buildings, Smart Cities. [IDEMIA], [IEE], [DFKI], [ISD], [EDI], [BCB], [AAA] and [EURECAT] achieved and submitted the specifications of applicative demonstrators based on [ST] upcoming available z-sensor (ToF/iToF) prototypes. In addition, those partners started preliminary in-field evaluation.
In this first 12M period, all results to assess correctly the level of progresses beyond the state of the art are not yet available, but the technology test-chip designed are tackling very aggressive performances in terms of:
- Pixels solutions for high resolution and speed:
Associated reduced pitch hybrid bonding industrial solutions
Sensitivity combined with low dark noise
- High efficiency VCSEL array with integrated optics
- Laser sources of high power combined with high purity
- High competitivity InGaAs detector
- Innovative optics for laser-beam management
Results already available at the device level show some parameters well in line with expectations and some others to be improved.
Correct and fair assessment of results versus SoA will be possible later in the project, considering devices improvements, system level solutions and use cases validation as well as competition status.
In the coming years, it is then expected to put VIZTA members in a good situation to provide industrialised answers to key growing application needs in numerous sectors: Biometrics, Security, Automated Driver Assistance and Services using latest Z-sensing technologies deployed for Consumer products.
Several of these applications are anticipated within VIZTA to create synergies between components providers and system/services actors.
VIZTA expected results - well balanced along all the supply-chain from equipment’s to end-users - will have a strong positive impact in 3D-imaging technology adoption by fast growing markets. Many of them being strategic for European industry and societal aspects (Mobility, Security, Energy, Industry 4.0).