(19)
(11)EP 1 648 160 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.05.2009 Bulletin 2009/22

(21)Application number: 05256407.7

(22)Date of filing:  14.10.2005
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04N 3/15  (2006.01)

(54)

Method of operating an active pixel that has positive transfer gate voltage during integration period

Verfahren zum Betrieb eines aktiven Pixels mit positiver Übertragungsgate-Spannung während der Integrationsperiode

Procédé pour commander un pixel actif avec tension de grille de transfert positive pendant la période d'integration


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 15.10.2004 US 966137

(43)Date of publication of application:
19.04.2006 Bulletin 2006/16

(73)Proprietor: OmniVision Technologies, Inc.
Sunnyvale, California 94089 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Rhodes, Howard E.
    Boise, Idaho 83706 (US)

(74)Representative: Hackney, Nigel John et al
Mewburn Ellis LLP 33 Gutter Lane
London EC2V 8AS
London EC2V 8AS (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A- 1 223 623
WO-A-20/04062274
WO-A-03/050874
US-B1- 6 246 043
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to image sensors, and more particularly, to an image sensor that uses pixels that maintain a positive transfer gate (or reset gate for 3T pixel) voltage during the photodiode integration period under low light conditions.

    [0002] Image sensors have become ubiquitous. They are widely used in digital still cameras, cellular phones, security cameras, medical, automobiles, and other applications. The technology used to manufacture image sensors, and in particular CMOS image sensors, has continued to advance at great pace. For example, the demands of higher resolution and lower power consumption have encouraged the further miniaturization and integration of the image sensor.

    [0003] For image sensors, it is a constant challenge to limit "hot pixels", i.e. those pixels that output a signal even when there is no incident light. The hot pixel problem is particularly exacerbated during long integration periods (i.e. long exposure times). The hot pixel problem is closely related to dark current. As will be described further below, in the case of a four transistor (4T) pixel design, it is believed that the region beneath the transfer gate of the transfer transistor is a primary source of dark current.

    [0004] One method to limit dark current is to apply a negative potential to the transfer gate. If the potential of the transfer gate is held negative, holes will accumulate under the transfer gate. This quenches electron generation which substantially reduces dark current and hot pixel effects. However, the application of a negative potential to the transfer gate results in reduced anti-blooming performance. At negative potential, the transfer gate is shut off completely. If there is a bright source of light incident on any of the pixels of the imaging array, then the generated photocharge on those pixels cannot spill over the transfer gate onto the floating node and from there over the reset transistor onto the Vdd drain. Instead, this high level of photogenerated charge spills onto adjacent photodiodes and results in a large white spot on the image (i.e. "blooming").

    [0005] If the potential on the transfer gate is held positive, on the other hand, there is an easy path through the transfer transistor and to the Vdd drain, since the transfer transistor is partially on. However, in this state, the well capacity of the photodiode is reduced.
    US patent number US-B-6,246,043 describes an active pixel sensor which is operated with voltages that exceed the normal operating voltages for a particular integrated circuit process. These voltages are employed during the reset, integration and readout periods in the operating cycle of the active pixel sensor.
    PCT publication WO-A-03/050874 describes a photodiode comprising an upper junction PN formed on a top layer and an intermediate layer supported by a portion of semiconductor substrate. A lower junction is formed between the intermediate layer and the substrate portion. PCT publication WO-A-2004/062274 (corresponding to EP-A-1580987) describes a solid-state imaging device in which a photo-diode and a first transistor are provided in series between the ground and the drain, and a signal corresponding to a current or charge generated in the photo-diode according to a light input is output from a detection node between the photo-diode and the first transistor.
    In various aspects, the present invention provides a method of operating an active pixel according to Claim 1 or Claim 8.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0006] Figure 1 is a schematic drawing of a three transistor (3T) active pixel.

    [0007] Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of a four transistor (4T) active pixel.

    [0008] Figure 3 is a flow diagram illustrating the method of operation of the 4T active pixel of Figure 2.

    [0009] Figure 4 shows an image sensor formed using the active pixels and methods of the present invention.

    [0010] Figure 5 is a timing diagram for a transfer transistor (4T pixel) or reset transistor (3T pixel) operating in normal light conditions.

    [0011] Figure 6 is a timing diagram for a transfer transistor (4T pixel) or reset transistor (3T pixel) operating in low light conditions.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0012] In the following description, numerous specific details are provided to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that the invention can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in order to avoid obscuring aspects of the invention.

    [0013] Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearances of the phrase "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments, as long as they fall within the terms of the appended claims.

    [0014] Figure 1 illustrates a CMOS active pixel that uses three transistors. This is known in the art as a 3T active pixel. A light sensing element 101 outputs a signal that is used to modulate an amplification transistor 105. The signal is "placed" at node A which is connected to the gate of the amplification transistor 105. Thus, the amplification transistor 105 is in source-follower configuration. The light-sensing element 101 can be one of a variety of devices, including without limitation, photogates, photodiodes, pinned photodiodes, partially pinned photodiodes, etc.

    [0015] During an integration period (also referred to as an exposure or accumulation period), the light-sensing element 101 captures light that is incident onto the pixel and outputs a signal indicative of the amount of light incident on that light-sensing element 101. The signal (which is an accumulation of charge generated by the light sensing element 101) is stored on node A which is connected to the gate of the amplification transistor 105. The signal stored on node A is then used to modulate the amplification transistor 105. After the integration period, a reset transistor 103 is used to reset the level of the node A to a reference level prior to the start of the next integration period. Finally, a row select transistor 107 is used as a means to address the pixel and to selectively read out the signal onto a column hit line 109.

    [0016] Figure 2 is similar in many respects to the 3T active pixel of Figure 1, except that an additional transfer transistor 201 is used to transfer the signal output by the light-sensing element 101 to a floating node B. This design is known as a four transistor or 4T pixel. In operation, during the integration period, the light sensing element 101 generates charge which is held at the light sensing element because transfer transistor 201 is off. After the integration period, the transfer transistor 201 is turned on (using the transfer gate) to transfer the signal to the floating node B. After the signal has been transferred to floating node B, the transfer transistor 201 is turned off again for the start of a subsequent integration period. Thus, as seen, the transfer transistor 201 turns on and off periodically to transfer signal from each integration period to the floating node B.

    [0017] The signal on the floating node B is then used to modulate the amplification transistor 105. Further, after readout through the column bitline 109, the reset transistor 103 resets the floating node B to a reference voltage, in this particular embodiment, Vdd.

    [0018] The present invention is equally applicable to either of the 3T or 4T designs described above, as well as the 5T, 6T, and other designs used by solid state image sensors. Specifically, the present invention contemplates that there are two modes of operation for the pixel (and thus the image sensor). Under low light conditions, the voltage on the transfer gate (in the case of a 4T, 5T, 6T and any other pixel designs that use a transfer gate) is held slightly positive. Under normal light conditions, the pixel operates normally with the voltage on the transfer gate nominally at about 0.0 volts. Similarly, for the 3T pixel, under low light conditions, the voltage on the reset gate of the reset transistor 103 is held slightly positive. Under normal light conditions, the pixel operates normally with the voltage on the reset gate nominally at 0.0 volts.

    [0019] The structure of an active pixel formed in accordance with the present invention is substantially the same as that shown in Figures 1 or 2. However, as further detailed below, the operation of the image sensor and the active pixels within the image sensor is controlled such that the pixels behave differently based upon different light conditions.

    [0020] Turning to Figure 3. a flow diagram showing a method of the present invention is provided. First, at box 301, the illumination level incident to the image sensor (and thus pixels) is monitored. This can be done in any number of conventional ways. For example, the output from the image sensor can be examined for its brightness level. As can be appreciated of ordinary skill in the art, nearly every image sensor has circuitry for automatic gain control and exposure control. By determining the strength of the signal output from the pixels, the ambient light level can be determined. Alternatively, the processed output from the image sensor can be examined to determine the relative ambient lighting conditions. Still alternatively, a dedicated light-sensitive device outside of the imaging area of the image sensor can be used to monitor the amount of incident light onto the image sensor.

    [0021] Next, at box 303, the illumination level determined at box 301 is compared to a threshold value, such as in one embodiment by the use of a comparator circuit. The threshold value is the trigger for transition between "normal" operation and "low light" operation. The precise point where the threshold is set may be made variable depending upon design considerations, parameters, and characteristics of the image sensor, and may even be adjustable at the discretion of the user of the image sensor. In any event, in one embodiment, a threshold is used to delineate between normal and low light operation. It can be appreciated that other types of triggers may be used to transition from normal and low light operation. The precise mechanism used to transition from normal to low light operation is not critical.

    [0022] If the illumination level determined at box 301 is lower than the threshold, then at box 307. the transfer transistor (or reset transistor in the case of a 3T pixel) is positively biased to some level Vtx_lo_dark during the integration period. In one embodiment. Vtx_lo_dark is 0.5 volts. However, the exact value of Vtx_lo_dark will vary with the particular process (e.g. 90 nm CMOS) used to manufacture the image sensor and may vary from just above 0.0 volts and just under full turn on of the transistor.

    [0023] In the case of a 4T pixel, during the readout period that transfers the photodiode signal to the floating node, the transfer transistor is biased to Vtx_hi, which will fully turn un the transfer transistor. In some embodiments, Vtx_hi may be 1.3 volts, 1.8 volts, 2.3 volts, 2.8 volts, or 3.3 volts. In other words, Vtx_hi is the turn on voltage of the transistors in the integrated circuit and the precise voltage will vary with the particular integrated circuit. Typically, Vtx_hi is simply the Vdd power supply rail for the integrated circuit. In other embodiments. Vtx_hi may even be higher than the Vdd power supply rail if a bootstrapping or charge pump circuit is used. Figure 6 illustrates an example of the control timing for the transfer transistor. Specifically, during an integration period 601, the transfer transistor is held at Vtx_lo_dark. Then, during the readout periods 603, the transfer transistor is biased to Vtx_hi. Note that in the case of a 3T pixel, the above described timing is applied to the reset transistor 103.

    [0024] However, if the illumination level is higher than the threshold, then at box 305, the pixels operate normally with Vtx_lo_norm at or near 0.0 volts. Thus, the transfer transistor (or reset transistor in the case of a 3T pixel) is held at Vtx_lo_norm during the integration period. In one embodiment, Vtx_lo_norm is 0.0 volts.

    [0025] In the case of a 4T pixel, during the readout period that transfers the photodiode signal to the floating node, the transfer transistor is biased to Vtx_hi, which will fully turn on the transfer transistor. Figure 5 illustrates an example of the timing for the transfer transistor. Specifically, during an integration period 501, the transfer transistor is held at Vtx_lo_norm. Then, during the readout periods 503, the transfer transistor is biased to Vtx_hi. Note that in the case of a 3T pixel, the above described timing is applied to the reset transistor 103.

    [0026] Furthermore, it can be appreciated that the precise values of Vtx_lo_dark . Vtx_lo_norm. and Vtx_hi may vary with the particular device and system characteristics, as well as with the process used to manufacture the image sensor. However, Vtx_lo_dark is typically greater than Vtx_lo_norm.

    [0027] To understand why the above timing and voltage bias combinations are advantageous, further analysis of the operation of the pixel is provided. Specifically, if the ambient lighting is normal (or non-low light), the gain of the image sensor typically remains at 1.0. Under these conditions, dark current and hot pixel generation is not a significant issue since the integration periods are relatively short.

    [0028] However, in low light conditions where the image sensor gain is increased, for example to 1.5, blooming is improved since the transfer transistor or reset transistor (for 3T pixels) is partially on. Moreover, the full well capacity is not degraded since the gain is greater than 1.0 and the image sensor does not use the full well capacity of the photodiode. For example, if the gain is 2.0. then the image sensor can only effectively use half of the full well capacity of the photodiode due to signal swing limitations at the higher gain. Thus, the fact that the transfer transistor or reset transistor (for 3T pixels) is partially "on" during integration at gains greater than 1.0 does not degrade the signal to noise ratio of the image sensor.

    [0029] Dark current and hot pixel defect density is also improved. It has been found that the increased generation of electrons under the transfer gate as a result of the positive bias during low light conditions results in better performance. Because the transfer transistor or reset transistor (3T pixels) is "on", the generated charge under the transfer gate flows to the floating node. As part of the readout timing, the floating node is reset and all of this generated charge is swept to the Vdd through the reset transistor 103 when the reset transistor 103 is turned on to reset the floating node potential. In this manner, dark current and hot pixel defect density is improved. In the case of a 3T pixel, the reset transistor is partially on which allows the generated electron charge to go out to Vdd.

    [0030] Thus, as seen from the description above, a pixel and image sensor formed in accordance with the present invention has two modes of operation: a normal mode and a low light mode. The present invention switches from a normal to a low light mode based upon the amount of illumination on the image sensor. The amount of illumination on the image sensor can be determined in a variety of ways, and any method for determining the level of illumination could easily be applied to the present invention. Once the level of illumination is determined, a decision is made by comparing the level of illumination to a threshold whether to operate in normal mode or low light mode. In low light mode, the reset transistor (for a 3T pixel) or the transfer transistor (for a 4T pixel) is biased positive.

    [0031] The active pixels described above may be used in a sensor array of a CMOS image sensor 1101. Specifically, Figure 4 shows a CMOS image sensor formed in accordance with the present invention. The CMOS image sensor includes a sensor array 1103, a processor circuit 1105, an input/output (I/O) 1107, memory 1109, and bus 1111. Preferably, each of these components is formed on a single silicon substrate and manufactured to be integrated onto a single chip using standard CMOS processes.

    [0032] The sensor array 1103 portion may be, for example, substantially similar to the sensor arrays portions of image sensors manufactured by the assignee of the present invention. OmniVision Technologies, Inc., of Sunnyvale. CA, as model numbers OV5610 or OV7640, except that the pixels are replaced with the active pixels disclosed herein.

    [0033] The description of the invention in this application as set forth herein is illustrative and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention. Variations and modifications of the embodiments described herein are possible, and practical alternatives to, or equivalents of the various elements, the embodiments are known to those of ordinary skill in the art. These and other variations and modifications of the embodiments disclosed herein may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.

    [0034] From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, but that various modifications may be made without deviating from the scope of the invention. For example, the teachings of the present invention can be applied to a 5T, 6T, 7T, or other types of pixel architectures. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A method of operating an active pixel comprising:

    a light sensing element (101) formed in a semiconductor substrate; and

    a transfer transistor (201) formed between said light sensing element and a floating node, the method including: selectively operating the transfer transistor to transfer a signal from said light sensing element to said floating node, positively biasing the transfer transistor during an integration period during a first mode of operation if a level of incident light is lower than a threshold value, to cause charge to flow from under the transfer gate to the floating node;

    turning off the transfer transistor during said integration period during a second mode of operation if said level of incident light is higher than said threshold value.


     
    2. The method of Claim 1 wherein said light sensing element (101) is selected from the group of photodiode, pinned photodiode, partially pinned photodiode, or photogate.
     
    3. The method of Claim 1 further including controlling an amplification transistor (105) by said floating node, wherein said amplification transistor outputs an amplified version of said signal to a column bitline.
     
    4. The method of Claim 1 wherein the pixel further includes a reset transistor operative to reset said floating node to a reference voltage, and the method includes operating the reset transistor to reset the floating node to the reference voltage.
     
    5. The method of Claim 1 including positively biasing said transfer transistor such that it is partially turned on during said integration period.
     
    6. The method of Claim 1 wherein said pixel is integrated into a CMOS image sensor.
     
    7. The method of Claim 1 wherein said pixel is part of a 4T, 5T, 6T, or 7T pixel architecture.
     
    8. A method of operating an active pixel comprising:

    a light sensing element (101) formed in a semiconductor substrate and connected to a node; and

    a reset transistor (103) connected between said node and a reference voltage; the method including: selectively operating the reset transistor to reset said node to said reference voltage, positively biasing the reset transistor during an integration period during a first mode of operation if a level of incident light is lower than a threshold value, to cause charge to flow through said reset transistor from said node;

    turning off the reset transistor during said integration period during a second mode of operation if said level of incident light is higher than said threshold value.


     
    9. The method of Claim 8 wherein said light sensing element (101) is selected from the group of photodiode, pinned photodiode, partially pinned photodiode, or photogate.
     
    10. The method of Claim 8 wherein the pixel further includes an amplification transistor (105) controlled by said node, wherein said amplification transistor outputs an amplified version of said signal to column bitline, and the method includes controlling the amplification transistor by said node to output amplified version of said signal to the column bitline.
     
    11. The method of Claim 8 wherein said pixel is integrated into a CMOS image sensor.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Ansteuern eines aktiven Bildpunkts, umfassend:

    ein in einem Halbleitersubstrat ausgebildetes Lichtsensorelement (101) und

    einen zwischen dem Lichtsensorelement und einem potentialmäßig schwimmenden Knoten ausgebildeten Transfer-Transistor (201),

    wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

    selektives Ansteuern des Transfer-Transistors zur Übertragung eines Signals von dem Lichtsensorelement zu dem potentialmäßig schwimmenden Knoten,

    das positive Vorspannen des Transfer-Transistors während einer Integrationsperiode während eines ersten Ansteuermodus, für den Fall, dass die Menge des einfallenden Lichts geringer ist als ein Schwellwert, um zu bewirken, dass Ladung von unterhalb des Transfer-Gates zu dem potentialmäßig schwimmenden Knoten fließt,

    das Ausschalten des Transfer-Transistors während der Integrationsperiode während eines zweiten Ansteuermodus, für den Fall, dass die Menge des einfallenden Lichts höher ist als der Schwellwert.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, worin das Lichtsensorelement (101) aus der aus Photodioden, gepinnten Photodioden, teilweise gepinnten Photodioden und Photogates bestehenden Gruppe ausgewählt ist.
     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend das Steuern eines Verstärkungstransistors (105) durch den potentialmäßig schwimmenden Knoten, wobei der Verstärkungstransistor eine verstärkte Version des Signals an eine Spalten-Bitleitung ausgibt.
     
    4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, worin der Bildpunkt ferner einen Reset-Transistor umfasst, der zum Rücksetzen des potentialmäßig schwimmenden Knotens auf eine Referenzspannung ansteuerbar ist, und das Verfahren die Ansteuerung des Reset-Transistors zum Rücksetzen des potentialmäßig schwimmenden Knotens auf die Referenzspannung umfasst.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, umfassend das positive Vorspannen des Transfer-Transistors, sodass er während der Integrationsperiode teilweise eingeschaltet ist.
     
    6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, worin der Bildpunkt in einen CMOS-Bildsensor integriert ist.
     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, worin der Bildpunkt Teil einer 4T-, 5T-, 6T- oder 7T-Bildpunkt-Architektur ist.
     
    8. Verfahren zur Ansteuerung eines aktiven Bildpunkts, umfassend:

    ein in einem Halbleitersubstrat ausgebildetes und mit einem Knoten verbundenes Lichtsensorelement (101) und

    einen Reset-Transistor (103), der zwischen den Knoten und eine Referenzspannung geschaltet ist;

    wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

    das selektive Ansteuern des Reset-Transistors zum Rücksetzen des Knotens auf die Referenzspannung,

    das positive Vorspannen des Reset-Transistors während einer Integrationsperiode während eines ersten Ansteuermodus, für den Fall, dass die Menge des einfallenden Lichts geringer ist als ein Schwellwert, um hervorzurufen, dass Ladung von dem Knoten durch den Reset-Transistor fließt;

    das Ausschalten des Reset-Transistors während der Integrationsphase während eines zweiten Ansteuermodus, für den Fall, dass das die Menge des einfallenden Lichts höher als der Schwellwert ist.


     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, worin das Lichtsensorelement (101) aus der aus Photodioden, gepinnten Photodioden, teilweise gepinnten Photodioden und Photogates bestehenden Gruppe ausgewählt ist.
     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, worin der Bildpunkt ferner einen Verstärkungstransistor (105) umfasst, der durch den Knoten gesteuert wird, wobei der Verstärkungstransistor eine verstärkte Version des Signals an eine Spalten-Bitleitung ausgibt, und das Verfahren das Steuern des Verstärkungstransistors durch den Knoten umfasst, damit dieser eine verstärkte Version des Signals an die Spalten-Bitleitung ausgibt.
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, worin der Bildpunkt in einen CMOS-Bildsensor integriert ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé pour commander un pixel actif comprenant:

    un élément de détection de lumière (101) formé dans un substrat à semi-conducteur; et

    un transistor de transfert (201) formé entre ledit élément de détection de lumière et un noeud flottant, le procédé incluant:

    commander sélectivement le transistor de transfert pour le transfert d'un signal dudit élément de détection de lumière audit noeud flottant, polariser positivement le transistor de transfert durant une période d'intégration durant un premier mode de fonctionnement si un niveau de lumière incidente est inférieur à une valeur de seuil, pour amener une charge à s'écouler depuis en dessous de la grille de transfert au noeud flottant, mettre hors service le transistor de transfert durant ladite période d'intégration durant un deuxième mode de fonctionnement si ledit niveau de lumière incidente est supérieur à ladite valeur de seuil.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit élément de détection de lumière (101) est sélectionné dans le groupe constitué de photodiode, photodiode ajoutée, photodiode partiellement ajoutée ou photogrille.
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre la commande d'un transistor d'amplification (105) par ledit noeud flottant, où ledit transistor d'amplification émet une version amplifiée dudit signal à une ligne de binaire colonne.
     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le pixel comprend en outre un transistor de remise à l'état initial apte à remettre ledit noeud flottant à une tension de référence, et le procédé comprend la commande du transistor de remise à l'état initial pour qu'il remette le noeud flottant à la tension de référence.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 1, incluant la polarisation positive dudit transistor de transfert de sorte qu'il est partiellement mis en service durant ladite période d'intégration.
     
    6. Procédé selon la revendication 1, où ledit pixel est intégré dans un capteur d'image CMOS.
     
    7. Procédé selon la revendication 1, où ledit pixel fait partie d'une architecture de pixel 4T, 5T, 6T ou 7T.
     
    8. Procédé de commande d'un pixel actif comprenant:

    un élément de détection de lumière (101) formé dans un substrat semi-conducteur et relié à un noeud; et

    un transistor de remise à l'état initial (103) monté entre ledit noeud et une tension de référence;

    le procédé incluant: commander sélectivement le transistor de remise à l'état initial pour remettre ledit noeud à ladite tension de référence, polariser positivement le transistor de remise à l'état initial durant une période d'intégration durant un premier mode de fonctionnement si un niveau de lumière incidente est inférieur à une valeur de seuil, pour amener une charge à s'écouler à travers ledit transistor de remise à l'état initial dudit noeud,

    mettre hors service le transistor de remise à l'état initial durant ladite période d'intégration durant un deuxième mode de fonctionnement si ledit niveau de lumière incidente est supérieur à ladite valeur de seuil.


     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel ledit élément de détection de lumière (101) est sélectionné dans le groupe consistant en photodiode, photodiode ajoutée, photodiode partiellement ajoutée ou photogrille.
     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel le pixel comprend en outre un transistor d'amplification (105) commandé par ledit noeud, où ledit transistor d'amplification émet une version amplifiée dudit signal à une ligne de binaire colonne, et le procédé comprend la commande du transistor d'amplification par ledit noeud pour émettre une version amplifiée dudit signal à la ligne de binaire colonne.
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 8, où ledit pixel est intégré dans un capteur d'image CMOS.
     




    Drawing















    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description