Figure-of-merit for CMOS imagers

Chi Shao S. Lin, Mau-Chung Chang, Bimal P. Mathur, David L. Standley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Imagers designed for different system applications may comply with different requirements. Performance can be optimized only with an appropriate metric. A CMOS imager "figure-of-merit (FOM)" for such a purpose is presented in this paper. It evaluates a CMOS imager from three performance categories: spatial resolution, sensing speed, and dynamic range. The sensing speed performance index (SP) is obtained by analyzing the imager signal-to-noise ratio versus exposure level. A modulation transfer function normalized to a 35 mm film standard assuming an identical field-of-view is introduced as the spatial resolution performance index (MTF35e_Avg), regardless of image sensor size. The dynamic range performance index, DR, is defined as ratio of the maximum signal level the imager is able to capture to its noise level. The tradeoffs among SP, MTF35e_Avg, and DR of a CMOS imager are quantitatively analyzed, and its FOM is found to be FOM = DR×SP×(MTF35e_Avg)2. This paper also gives example of optimized design using the proposed FOM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • CMOS imager
  • Dynamic range
  • Figure-of-merit
  • Modulation transfer function
  • Sensing speed

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