(19)
(11)EP 3 686 932 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
29.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/31

(21)Application number: 18919397.2

(22)Date of filing:  20.11.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H01L 27/146  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/CN2018/116317
(87)International publication number:
WO 2020/102959 (28.05.2020 Gazette  2020/22)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: SHENZHEN GOODIX TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.
Shenzhen, Guangdong 518045 (CN)

(72)Inventor:
  • CHAO, Wei-Min
    Shenzhen, Guangdong 518045 (CN)

(74)Representative: Casalonga 
Casalonga & Partners Bayerstraße 71/73
80335 München
80335 München (DE)

  


(54)IMAGE SENSOR AND RELATED HANDHELD APPARATUS


(57) The present invention discloses an image sensor and a related handheld device. The image sensor includes: a substrate doped to a first conductivity type and the substrate having a front side and a back side, the back side being opposite to the front side; a light collection region disposed in the substrate, neighboring the front side of the substrate, and arranged to collect photogenerated charge carriers, with the light collection region doped to a second conductivity type opposite to the first conductivity type; and a mask disposed over the substrate and the mask having an opening, allowing light waves to reach the light collection region through the opening and be converted into the photogenerated charge carriers.




Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present disclosure relates to image sensors and, more particularly, to an image sensor conducive to reduction of optical cross-talk and an associated handheld device.

BACKGROUND



[0002] Semiconductor image sensors are for use in sensing light waves. However, image sensors generate interference signals, for example, optical cross-talk, between adjacent pixels, to the detriment of performance of the image sensors. Furthermore, components at the periphery of the image sensors must be kept optically dark. When exposed to light, the components at the periphery not only manifest compromised performance but also generate interference signals.

[0003] Therefore, it is imperative to overcome the aforesaid drawback: when image sensors are applied to optical under-display fingerprint sensing technology, optical cross-talk affects their capability to sense fingerprints.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0004] One of the objectives of the present disclosure is to disclose an image sensor and an associated handheld device to solve the aforementioned issues.

[0005] An embodiment of the present disclosure discloses an image sensor. The image sensor includes: a substrate doped to a first conductivity type, the substrate having a front side and a back side, the back side being opposite to the front side; a light collection region disposed in the substrate, neighboring the front side of the substrate, and arranged to collect photogenerated charge carriers, characterized in that the light collection region is doped to a second conductivity type opposite to the first conductivity type; and a mask disposed over the substrate and the mask having an opening, allowing light waves to reach the light collection region through the opening and be converted into the photogenerated charge carriers.

[0006] An embodiment of the present disclosure discloses a handheld device. The handheld device includes: a display assembly; and an image sensor, including the image sensor described above, for obtaining fingerprint information of the specific subject.

[0007] According to the present disclosure, the image sensor and the handheld device demonstrate reduced optical cross-talk because the image sensor has a mask with an opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0008] 

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of an image sensor according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a partial enlarged view of the image sensor shown in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the image sensor shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an image sensor according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the image sensor for use with a handheld device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the handheld device according to an embodiment shown in FIG. 5.



[0009] The legend is as follows:
100, 200
Image sensor
102
Substrate
104
Light collection region
106
Isolation structure
108
Dielectric layer
110, 220
Metal stacked layer
112, 116, 212, 216, 220
Metal layer
114, 118, 214, 218, 222
Inter-metallic-layer dielectric layer
124, 224
Opening
120
Filter
122
Microlens
d1, d2, d3
Distance
c
Center
400
Display assembly
500
Handheld device
402
Display panel
404
Protective cover
406
Battery

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS



[0010] Disclosed below are embodiments or examples illustrative of different features of the present disclosure. Specific examples of components described hereunder and configurations thereof are intended to simplify the present disclosure. Understandably, the descriptions serve illustrative purposes only but are not intended to restrict the present disclosure. For instance, in the descriptions below, the expression "forming a first feature on or over a second feature" may mean that, in an embodiment, the first and second features are in direct contact, or may mean that, in another embodiment, additional components are formed between the first and second features such that the first and second features may not be in direct contact. Furthermore, for the sake of brevity and clarity, reference numerals and/or signs may be repeatedly used in embodiments of the present disclosure without indicating any relationship between different embodiments and/or aspects.

[0011] Position-related terms, such as "under", "below", "lower", "over", "on", and the like, are used hereunder to describe the position of a component or feature relative to another or a plurality of components or features in the accompanying drawings. In addition to relative positions in the drawings, the position-related terms indicate different directions in which a device is located when it is in use or operated. The described device may be disposed in other directions (for example, rotated by 90 degrees or in other directions). These position-related terms should be explained correspondingly.

[0012] Although all the numerical ranges or parameters disclosed in the present disclosure are approximations, the numerical ranges or parameters express related numerical values in specific embodiments as precisely as possible. However, intrinsically, every numerical value inevitably comes with a standard deviation which arises from a testing method. The adverb "approximately" used hereunder means that the difference between the actual numerical value and a specific numerical value is less than 10%, 5%, 1% or 0.5%. Alternatively, the adverb "approximately" used hereunder means that the actual numerical value differs from the mean by a standard deviation or less, and the standard deviation is defined by persons skilled in the art. Understandably, except for empirical embodiments, or unless otherwise specified, all numerical ranges, quantity, numerical values, and percentages (for example, descriptive of the amount of a material used, time period, temperature, operation conditions, quantitative proportion, and the like) used hereunder are approximations. Therefore, unless otherwise specified, all numerical values of parameters disclosed hereunder are approximations and are subject to changes as needed. At the very least, the numerical values of parameters must be interpreted as numerical values characterized by specific significant figures and obtained by a general carry system. In this regard, a numerical value range is expressed as starting from an endpoint and ending at another endpoint or as lying between two endpoints. Unless otherwise specified, every numerical value range includes endpoints.

[0013] The image sensor of the present disclosure reduces optical cross-talk. When applied to optical under-display fingerprint sensing technical, the image sensor of the present disclosure renders acquired fingerprint information more accurate and effectively enhances the reliability of optical under-display fingerprint sensing. The image sensor and the associated handheld device, as provided by the present disclosure, are hereunder illustrated by plurality of embodiments, depicted by the accompanying drawings, and described below.

[0014] Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a cross-sectional view of an image sensor according to an embodiment of the present disclosure. Although an image sensor 100 shown in FIG. 1 has one pixel unit only, the image sensor 100 in practice can include a plurality of pixel units extending in x-axis direction and/or y-axis direction so as to be arranged in a matrix. The image sensor 100 has unlimited applications. In the embodiment illustrated by FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, the image sensor 100 performs optical under-display fingerprint sensing.

[0015] Particularly, in this embodiment, the image sensor 100 is a front-side-illuminated (FSI) CMOS image sensor. The image sensor 100 includes a substrate 102, a metal stacked layer 110, a filter 120 and a microlens 122. The substrate 102 is doped to a first conductivity type. For example, the substrate 102 is a silicon substrate which contains p-type dopants (for example, boron). The substrate 102 has a front side and a back side. The front side of the substrate 102 faces the microlens 122 and thus is irradiated by light waves. The backside is opposite to the front side. In a variant embodiment, a dielectric layer 108 is disposed between the metal stacked layer 110 and the substrate 102.

[0016] The substrate 102 includes a light collection region 104 and an isolation structure 106. The light collection region 104 is disposed in the substrate 102 and neighboring the front side of the substrate 102. In other words, the light collection region 104 extends from the front side of the substrate 102 toward the back side of the substrate 102 and does not extend to the back side of the substrate 102. The light waves admitted through the microlens 122 are converted by the light collection region 104 into photogenerated charge carriers. The light collection region 104 is doped to a second conductivity type opposite to the first conductivity type. For example, the light collection region 104 is a silicon layer which contains n-type dopants (for example, arsenic and phosphorus). However, understandably, the aforesaid conductivity types of all components are swappable, allowing the substrate 102 and the light collection region 104 to be n-doped and p-doped, respectively.

[0017] The isolation structure 106 is disposed around the light collection region 104. The isolation structure 106 is a shallow trench isolation (STI) structure. When the image sensor 100 includes a plurality of pixel units, the isolation structure 106 isolates adjacent pixel units from each other so as to reduce optical cross-talk.

[0018] The metal stacked layer 110 includes a plurality of metal layers (for example, 112, 116) and a plurality of inter-metal-layer dielectric layers (for example, 114, 118) disposed between the metal layers and corresponding to the metal layers, respectively. The inter-metal-layer dielectric layers are made of silicon oxide, silicon oxynitride, or any material with low dielectric constant. In this embodiment, the topmost metal layer 116 of the metal stacked layer 110 functions as a mask. The metal layer 116 has an opening 124. The dielectric layer 118 disposed between and corresponding to the metal layer 116. The inter-metal-layer dielectric layer corresponding to the metal layer where the mask is disposed extends to the opening 124 to fill the opening 124. The light waves admitted through the micro lens 122 pass through the opening 124 to reach the light collection region 104 so as to be converted into the photogenerated charge carriers. In the metal stacked layer 110, all the metal layers under the metal layer 116 must not block the light waves. For example, none of the metal layers under the metal layer 116 overlaps the opening 124 from a top view. In a variant embodiment, none of the metal layers under the metal layer 116 overlaps the opening 124 the light collection region 104.

[0019] To further illustrate the structure of the image sensor 100, FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 provide schematic views of the image sensor 100. FIG. 2 is a partial enlarged view of the image sensor 100 shown in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a top view of the image sensor 100 shown in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, the opening 124 overlaps the light collection region 104 from a top view, and, owing to the position of the opening 124 and a diameter d2 of the opening 124, the opening 124 does not extend beyond the light collection region 104. Therefore, from a top view, the metal layer 116 functions as a mask providing a complete shield except for part of the light collection region 104; in other words, the metal layer 116 shields the isolation structure 106 between adjacent pixel units. Optical interference between adjacent pixel units is prevented, because the metal layer 116 blocks most of the light waves (though the metal layer 116 permits some of the light waves to enter the light collection region 104 through the opening 124.)

[0020] In this embodiment, the opening 124 is substantially in a round shape, and the diameter d2 of the opening 124 is configured to bring about pinhole diffraction such that a diffraction pattern which manifests circular symmetry occurs when the light waves pass through the opening 124, and the central region of the diffraction pattern has greater brightness than the peripheral region of the diffraction pattern other than the central region. In this embodiment, center c of the opening 124 substantially overlaps the center of the light collection region 104, and thus the center of the diffraction pattern substantially overlaps the center of the light collection region 104. Hence, energy is concentrated at the center of the light collection region to thereby enhance the efficiency of photoelectric conversion.

[0021] In an embodiment, the size of the opening 124 is determined according to the wavelength of specific light waves. For example, specific light waves have a wavelength of 526 nm to 606 nm, the diameter d2 of the opening 124 is around 2.36 to 3.45 times greater than the wavelength of specific light waves. In a variant embodiment, the size of the opening 124 is determined according to the size of the light collection region 104. For example, the ratio of the diameter d2 of the opening 124 to width d3 of the light collection region 104 is 1 : 3.16 ∼ 4.61 approximately. In a variant embodiment, the size of the opening 124 is determined according to a distance d1 between the light collection region 104 and the opening 124. For example, the ratio of the diameter d2 of the opening 124 to the distance d1 is 1 : 2.92 approximately.

[0022] The filter 120 is disposed between the metal stacked layer 110 and the microlens 122. The filter 120 can be designed to be passed through by specific light waves with a specific wavelength. In a variant embodiment, the size of the opening 124 must be designed with considerations given to the filter 120 in order to optimize specific light waves.

[0023] In a variant embodiment, any metal layer other than the topmost metal layer 116 of the metal stacked layer 110 functions as a mask. For example, FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an image sensor according to another embodiment of the present disclosure. The image sensor 200 of FIG. 4 is distinguished from the image sensor 100 of FIG. 1 in that the metal layer 216 under the topmost metal layer 220 of a metal stacked layer 210 functions as a mask. For example, the metal layer 216 is any metal layer other than the topmost metal layer 220 of the metal stacked layer 210. In the metal stacked layer 210, all the metal layers over and under the metal layer 216 must not block the light waves. For example, none of the metal layers over and under the metal layer 216 overlaps the opening 224 from a top view. In a variant embodiment, none of the metal layers over and under the metal layer 216 overlaps the light collection region 104.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the image sensor for use with a handheld device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure. The handheld device 500 includes a display assembly 400 and an image sensor 100/200. The handheld device 500 performs optical under-display fingerprint sensing to sense fingerprints of a specific subject. The handheld device 500 is a handheld electronic device, such as smartphone, PDA, handheld computer system or panel computer. FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the handheld device shown in FIG. 5. Referring to FIG. 6, the display assembly 400 includes a display panel 402 and a protective cover 404. The protective cover 404 is disposed on the display panel 400. The image sensor 100/200 is disposed under the display panel 400. In this embodiment, the display panel 402 is an organic electroluminescence display (OLED) panel, but the present disclosure is not limited thereto. In a variant embodiment, the handheld device 500 further includes some other components, for example, a battery 406 disposed under the image sensor 100/200.

[0025] In the aforesaid embodiments, one of the metal layers of the metal stacked layer 110 functions as a mask, and part of the light waves passes through an opening on the metal layers, so as to reduce optical cross-talk. When applied to optical under-display fingerprint sensing technology, the image sensor of the present disclosure demonstrates enhanced capability to sense fingerprints without incurring additional costs.

[0026] The technical features presented in embodiments of the present disclosure are concisely described above to enable persons skilled in the art to fully understand various aspects of the present disclosure. Persons skilled in the art are able to design or change any other process and structure easily in accordance with the present disclosure with a view to implementing the same objective, and/or attaining the same advantage, as the embodiments of the present disclosure. Persons skilled in the art understand that the equivalent embodiments still fall within the scope of the present disclosure and conform to the spirit thereof. Furthermore, persons skilled in the art may make various changes, substitutions and alterations to the embodiments of the present disclosure without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure.


Claims

1. An image sensor, characterized by comprising:

a substrate doped to a first conductivity type, the substrate having a front side and a back side, the back side being opposite to the front side;

a light collection region disposed in the substrate and neighboring the front side of the substrate, and arranged to collect photogenerated charge carriers, wherein the light collection region is doped to a second conductivity type opposite to the first conductivity type; and

a mask disposed over the substrate, and the mask having an opening allowing light waves to reach the light collection region through the opening and be converted into the photogenerated charge carriers.


 
2. The image sensor of claim 1, characterized in that the mask is metal.
 
3. The image sensor of claim 2, characterized by further comprising a plurality of metal layers disposed over the front side of the substrate, and the mask being disposed in one of the plurality of metal layers.
 
4. The image sensor of claim 3, characterized in that the mask is disposed in the topmost one of the metal layers.
 
5. The image sensor of claim 3, characterized by further comprising a plurality of inter-metal-layer dielectric layers disposed between the metal layers and corresponding to the metal layers, respectively, and the inter-metal-layer dielectric layer corresponding to the metal layer where the mask is disposed extending to the opening to fill the opening.
 
6. The image sensor of claim 1, characterized in that, the opening overlaps the light collection region and does not extend beyond the light collection region from a top view.
 
7. The image sensor of claim 1, characterized in that, the opening is in a round shape from a top view.
 
8. The image sensor of claim 7, characterized in that, a center of the opening overlaps a center of the light collection region from a top view.
 
9. The image sensor of claim 7, characterized in that the light waves pass through the opening to form a diffraction pattern which manifests circular symmetry, and a central region of the diffraction pattern has greater brightness than a peripheral region of the diffraction pattern other than the central region.
 
10. The image sensor of claim 7, characterized in that a diameter of the opening is determined according to a wavelength of the light waves.
 
11. The image sensor of claim 7, characterized in that a diameter of the opening is determined according to a size of the light collection region.
 
12. The image sensor of claim 7, characterized in that a diameter of the opening is determined according to a distance between the light collection region and the opening.
 
13. The image sensor of claim 1, characterized by further comprising a micro lens disposed over the mask.
 
14. The image sensor of claim 13, characterized by further comprising a filter disposed between the mask and the microlens.
 
15. The image sensor of claim 13, characterized in that, a center of the microlens overlaps the opening from a top view.
 
16. The image sensor of claim 1, characterized by further comprising an isolation structure disposed around the light collection region.
 
17. A handheld device, for sensing fingerprints of a specific subject, characterized by comprising:

a display assembly; and

the image sensor of any one of claims 1-16 for obtaining fingerprint information of the specific subject.


 
18. The handheld device of claim 17, characterized in that the display assembly comprises a display panel and a protective cover.
 
19. The handheld device of claim 18, characterized in that the display panel has a first side and a second side opposite to the first side, the protective cover being disposed at the second side of the display panel, the image sensor being disposed at the first side of the display panel, and the display panel being between the image sensor and the protective cover.
 
20. The handheld device of claim 18, characterized in that the display panel is an organic light-emitting diode display.
 




Drawing