Tessera Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:TSRA), a leading provider of miniaturization technologies for the electronics industry, today announced OptiML™ WLC (also known as OptiµL™ WLC), a new wafer-level camera technology designed to significantly advance the integration of miniaturized cameras in mobile phones, personal computers, security cameras, and other electronics. Tessera’s OptiML WLC technology makes it possible for cameras to be manufactured at the wafer level, drastically reducing the size and total bill of material cost of camera modules. As a result of these and other significant benefits, Tessera is providing the electronics industry a powerful tool for integrating cameras into a wider range of electronic products.
Tessera’s solution is designed to overcome the cost, size and manufacturing roadblocks facing the industry as cameras become pervasive in mobile phones and other electronics. Using OptiML WLC technology, thousands of lenses are manufactured simultaneously on a wafer, and then bonded at the wafer level to create the optical element of the camera. The result is simplified assembly and up to 30% cost savings for the optical component of the camera module. OptiML WLC technology also reduces the size of the camera to a minimum, delivering up to 50% size reductions over conventional camera modules in camera phones today. Tessera’s recently acquired Eyesquad technology can be easily integrated into the OptiML WLC solution, providing advanced auto-focus and digital optical zoom without the use of moving parts, resulting in greatly enhanced camera functionally and reliability at lower costs and smaller form factors.
According to Bruce McWilliams, Tessera’s Chairman, President and CEO, “We believe utilizing a wafer-level camera manufacturing technology is the most viable path to overcoming the challenges facing the industry today. With our acquisitions of Shellcase, Digital Optics and Eyesquad, we have assembled what we believe to be the strongest portfolio of camera optic technologies in the marketplace. For nearly two decades, Tessera has pioneered technologies that have resulted in smaller, better performing electronic products. We are continuing in that tradition with today’s announcement, and we believe our OptiML wafer level camera technology represents a significant leap forward in the development of highly integrated, lower cost optics for consumer and other electronics.”
The market for cameras in electronic products such as cellular phones, laptops, PDAs, and security electronics continues to show strong growth. The mobile phone camera market alone is estimated to grow from 660 million units in 2006 to over 1.1 billion units in 2011, according to Gartner Dataquest. Said Jim Walker, Vice President of Research, Semiconductor Manufacturing, Gartner Dataquest, “The world’s most influential cell phone makers have challenged the industry for a wafer level camera solution. There are many key benefits realized when applying semiconductor processes to optics, including significant cost and size reductions. The challenge the industry faces is to integrate greater levels of functionality in smaller form factors at acceptable levels of cost. This new wafer-level approach to miniaturization provides an innovative solution for meeting these objectives.”
About OptiML Wafer Level Camera Technology
OptiML WLC technology can be used for a wide range of camera phone applications, and is designed to scale to multi-mega pixel resolutions. Wafer level techniques are used to build thousands of lenses on a wafer at the same time. Multiple lens wafers are then aligned and bonded at the wafer level using Tessera’s OptiML™ WaferStack™ technology. The need for costly manual focusing is removed due to the accuracy of the WaferStack™ process. The bonded lens wafers are then diced into individual lens modules, and each lens module is mounted on top of a packaged image sensor.
Reflow compatible materials are used to build the lenses. The result is a camera module that can be mounted directly onto the phone board using the same reflow process used to assemble other electronics. Assembly through reflow results in lower labor cost, part count and cycle time when incorporating the camera into the phone.