Patents by Inventor Boyd Fowler

Boyd Fowler has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 7999865
    Abstract: An imaging array and a method for operating the same are disclosed. The imaging array includes a plurality of light pixels and a sense amplifier. Each light pixel includes a photodetector that generates and couples a signal indicative of a light exposure to a light pixel node, a readout circuit, and a mixer that mixes a signal on the light pixel node with a pixel oscillator signal. The sense amplifier includes an input node that receives a signal from each light pixel, one light pixel at a time. The sense amplifier also includes a high pass filter that attenuates signals with frequencies less than a cutoff frequency and a mixer that demodulates the signal from the filter to provide a signal that is related to the potential on the light pixel node of the light pixel connected to the first input node.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2011
    Assignee: Fairchild Imaging, Inc.
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Patent number: 7825975
    Abstract: An image sensor and a method for using the same are disclosed. The image sensor includes an array of pixel sensors, a signal digitizing circuit, and a digitizing controller. The array of pixel sensors includes a plurality of pixel sensors. Each pixel sensor includes a photodetector, a charge conversion circuit, and a gate transistor. The charge conversion circuit generates a voltage signal that is related to a charge on the photodiode, and the gate transistor couples the voltage signal to a bit line in response to a first signal. The signal digitizing circuit converts the voltage signal to a plurality of output digital values. Each output digital value has a different level of digitization noise. One of the output digital values is selected for output in response to an output selection signal that is generated by the digitizing controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 2, 2010
    Assignee: Fairchild Imaging, Inc.
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20100255642
    Abstract: A CCD containing circuit and method for making the same. The circuit includes a CCD array and a protection circuit. The CCD array is constructed on an integrated circuit substrate and includes a plurality of gate electrodes that are insulated from the substrate by an insulating layer. The gate electrodes are connected to a conductor bonded to the substrate. The protection circuit is also constructed on the substrate. The protection circuit is connected to the conductor and to the substrate and protects the CCD array from both negative and positive voltage swings generated by electrostatic discharge events and the like. The protection circuit and the CCD can be constructed in the same integrated circuit fabrication process.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 18, 2010
    Publication date: October 7, 2010
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Patent number: 7764316
    Abstract: A CCD containing circuit and method for making the same. The circuit includes a CCD array and a protection circuit. The CCD array is constructed on an integrated circuit substrate and includes a plurality of gate electrodes that are insulated from the substrate by an insulating layer. The gate electrodes are connected to a conductor bonded to the substrate. The protection circuit is also constructed on the substrate. The protection circuit is connected to the conductor and to the substrate and protects the CCD array from both negative and positive voltage swings generated by electrostatic discharge events and the like. The protection circuit and the CCD can be constructed in the same integrated circuit fabrication process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2010
    Assignee: Fairchild Imaging, Inc.
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20100141819
    Abstract: An imaging array and method for capturing an image utilizing the same are disclosed. The imaging array includes an array of pixel sensors in which each pixel includes a dual-ported photodiode or photogate and a charge conversion circuit. The charge conversion circuit generates a voltage signal that is a function of a charge on the dual-ported photodiode. The controller applies a potential that varies over the exposure to the second gates in the dual-ported photodiodes, each second port passing charge stored in the photodiode connected to the second port when a potential in the photodiode exceeds the applied potential. The potential is chosen such that charge flows through the second gates of pixel sensors that are exposed to light intensities greater than a first threshold intensity during the exposure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 8, 2008
    Publication date: June 10, 2010
    Inventors: Boyd Fowler, Xinqiao Liu
  • Publication number: 20100141817
    Abstract: An imaging array and method for using the same to capture an image are disclosed. The imaging array includes an array of pixel sensors and a controller. Each pixel sensor includes a dual-ported photodiode characterized by ports having first and second gates, and a charge conversion circuit. The charge conversion circuit generates a signal that is a function of a charge on the dual-ported photodiode when the first gate in the dual-ported photodiode is activated to transfer a charge on the dual-ported photodiode to the charge conversion circuit. The controller applies a potential to the second gates and measures a current flowing out of the second gates, each second port passing charge stored in the photodiode connected to the second port when a potential in the photodiode exceeds the applied potential. The controller determines an average light intensity incident on the array of pixel sensors.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 8, 2008
    Publication date: June 10, 2010
    Inventors: Xinqiao Liu, Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20100097501
    Abstract: An imaging array and a method for operating the same are disclosed. The imaging array includes a plurality of light pixels and a sense amplifier. Each light pixel includes a photodetector that generates and couples a signal indicative of a light exposure to a light pixel node, a readout circuit, and a mixer that mixes a signal on the light pixel node with a pixel oscillator signal. The sense amplifier includes an input node that receives a signal from each light pixel, one light pixel at a time. The sense amplifier also includes a high pass filter that attenuates signals with frequencies less than a cutoff frequency and a mixer that demodulates the signal from the filter to provide a signal that is related to the potential on the light pixel node of the light pixel connected to the first input node.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 20, 2008
    Publication date: April 22, 2010
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Patent number: 7655918
    Abstract: An image sensor having a two-dimensional array of CMOS pixel sensors, a row decoder and a column decoder is disclosed. The two-dimensional array of CMOS pixel sensors is organized as a plurality of rows and columns that are addressed with the aid of row and column decoders. At least one of the column decoder or the row decoder is located between two of the rows or two of the columns, respectively. X-rays are converted to light that is detected by the image sensor by a layer of scintillation material that overlies the two-dimensional array. The internally located decoder or decoders facilitate sensors in which the two-dimensional array includes a rectangular array having a chamfered corner such that rows or columns that extend into the chamfered corner have lengths that are less than rows or columns, respectively, that do not extend into the corners.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2006
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2010
    Assignee: Fairchild Imaging, Inc
    Inventors: Xinqiao Liu, Boyd Fowler
  • Patent number: 7638749
    Abstract: An image sensor having a first substrate on which a CCD array is fabricated in a first fabrication system is disclosed. The CCD array includes a node through which charge from the pixels passes during a readout operation. The first substrate also includes a first FET fabricated on the first substrate in the first fabrication system, the first FET having a gate connected to the node and a source or drain connected to a first conducting pad on the first substrate. A capacitor connects the node to a second conducting pad on the first substrate. A switch is connected across the first capacitor such that the first capacitor is shorted when the first switch is closed. The first switch is controlled by a reset signal on a third conducting pad on the first substrate. The first substrate can be connected to a second substrate having amplification and control circuitry.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 2006
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2009
    Assignee: Fairchild Imaging
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20090295951
    Abstract: A camera for forming an image of a scene that moves relative to the camera and the method of forming that image are disclosed. The camera includes an imaging array having a plurality of CMOS pixel sensors having a plurality of columns and rows, an imaging system, and a controller. The imaging system causes a portion of an image of a scene to be projected on the imaging array such that the image of the scene moves across the imaging array in the column direction. First and second images of the scene are formed at first and second times chosen such that the image of the scene moves a predetermined number of rows of the imaging array between the first and second times. The controller combines pixel values from rows in the first image with rows in the second image that are separated by the predetermined number of rows.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 29, 2008
    Publication date: December 3, 2009
    Inventors: Boyd Fowler, XinQiao Lin
  • Patent number: 7615754
    Abstract: An image sensor having a two-dimensional array of pixel sensors, a layer of scintillation material, and a controller is disclosed. The layer of scintillation material is adjacent to the two-dimensional array, the scintillation material emits light in response to x-rays impinging thereon. The pixel sensors detect this light. The controller reads out data stored in the two-dimensional array of pixel sensors and forms an image therefrom. The controller corrects the data for errors resulting from x-rays that generate electrons that are stored in the pixel sensors in the process of forming the image. In one aspect of the invention, the controller forms the image by causing the two-dimensional array to form a plurality of frames, each frame includes a measurement of a charge stored on each photodiode during a preceding time period. The controller selectively combines data from the frames to form the image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2009
    Assignee: Fairchild Imaging, Inc.
    Inventors: XinQiao Liu, Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20090213258
    Abstract: An image sensor and a method for using the same are disclosed. The image sensor includes an array of pixel sensors, a signal digitizing circuit, and a digitizing controller. The array of pixel sensors includes a plurality of pixel sensors. Each pixel sensor includes a photodetector, a charge conversion circuit, and a gate transistor. The charge conversion circuit generates a voltage signal that is related to a charge on the photodiode, and the gate transistor couples the voltage signal to a bit line in response to a first signal. The signal digitizing circuit converts the voltage signal to a plurality of output digital values. Each output digital value has a different level of digitization noise. One of the output digital values is selected for output in response to an output selection signal that is generated by the digitizing controller.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 25, 2008
    Publication date: August 27, 2009
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20080224179
    Abstract: A CCD containing circuit and method for making the same. The circuit includes a CCD array and a protection circuit. The CCD array is constructed on an integrated circuit substrate and includes a plurality of gate electrodes that are insulated from the substrate by an insulating layer. The gate electrodes are connected to a conductor bonded to the substrate. The protection circuit is also constructed on the substrate. The protection circuit is connected to the conductor and to the substrate and protects the CCD array from both negative and positive voltage swings generated by electrostatic discharge events and the like. The protection circuit and the CCD can be constructed in the same integrated circuit fabrication process.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 15, 2007
    Publication date: September 18, 2008
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20080217545
    Abstract: An image sensor having a two-dimensional array of pixel sensors, a layer of scintillation material, and a controller is disclosed. The layer of scintillation material is adjacent to the two-dimensional array, the scintillation material emits light in response to x-rays impinging thereon. The pixel sensors detect this light. The controller reads out data stored in the two-dimensional array of pixel sensors and forms an image therefrom. The controller corrects the data for errors resulting from x-rays that generate electrons that are stored in the pixel sensors in the process of forming the image. In one aspect of the invention, the controller forms the image by causing the two-dimensional array to form a plurality of frames, each frame includes a measurement of a charge stored on each photodiode during a preceding time period. The controller selectively combines data from the frames to form the image.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 8, 2007
    Publication date: September 11, 2008
    Inventors: XinQiao Liu, Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20080024635
    Abstract: An image sensor having a two-dimensional array of CMOS pixel sensors, a row decoder and a column decoder is disclosed. The two-dimensional array of CMOS pixel sensors is organized as a plurality of rows and columns that are addressed with the aid of row and column decoders. At least one of the column decoder or the row decoder is located between two of the rows or two of the columns, respectively. X-rays are converted to light that is detected by the image sensor by a layer of scintillation material that overlies the two-dimensional array. The internally located decoder or decoders facilitate sensors in which the two-dimensional array includes a rectangular array having a chamfered corner such that rows or columns that extend into the chamfered corner have lengths that are less than rows or columns, respectively, that do not extend into the corners.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 26, 2006
    Publication date: January 31, 2008
    Inventors: Xinqiao Liu, Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20070279508
    Abstract: An image sensor having a first substrate on which a CCD array is fabricated in a first fabrication system is disclosed. The CCD array includes a node through which charge from the pixels passes during a readout operation. The first substrate also includes a first FET fabricated on the first substrate in the first fabrication system, the first FET having a gate connected to the node and a source or drain connected to a first conducting pad on the first substrate. A capacitor connects the node to a second conducting pad on the first substrate. A switch is connected across the first capacitor such that the first capacitor is shorted when the first switch is closed. The first switch is controlled by a reset signal on a third conducting pad on the first substrate. The first substrate can be connected to a second substrate having amplification and control circuitry.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 5, 2006
    Publication date: December 6, 2007
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Patent number: 7274397
    Abstract: An imaging array having one or more columns of pixels is disclosed. Each pixel includes a photodiode including first and second terminals, a local reset circuit for connecting the first terminal to a column reset line; and a buffer circuit for selectively connecting the first terminal to a column bit line in response to a word select signal. Each column also includes a column reset circuit having an operational amplifier and a low-pass filter. The operational amplifier has a first input connected to the column bit line for that column and a second input connected to a reset signal generator that generates a reset signal during a reset cycle. The output of the operational amplifier is connected to the column reset line during the reset cycle. In one embodiment, the gain of the operational amplifier and the passband of the low-pass filter are varied during the reset cycle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2007
    Assignee: Micron Technology, Inc.
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20050248673
    Abstract: A CMOS image sensor includes a plurality of pixel circuits. Each pixel circuit includes a plurality of transistors. The image sensor includes a controller for controlling operation of the plurality of pixel circuits, wherein the controller is configured to cause at least one of the transistors in each pixel circuit to be placed in an accumulation mode and then switched from the accumulation mode to a strong inversion mode, thereby reducing 1/f noise of the pixel circuits.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 10, 2004
    Publication date: November 10, 2005
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler
  • Publication number: 20050134715
    Abstract: An active pixel sensor comprises a photodiode providing a photodiode output current indicative of an intensity of light incident the photodiode and an integrator circuit electrically coupled to the photodiode. The integrator circuit is configured to provide a pixel voltage representing an integration of the photodiode output current when the photodiode is exposed to light and dark leakage current through the photodiode when the photodiode is not exposed to light. The integrator circuit is configured to set a reverse bias voltage on the photodiode and respond to at least one control input to set the reverse bias voltage to a first level. The active pixel sensor comprises a feedback loop configured to receive the pixel voltage and control the integrator circuit to adjust the reverse bias voltage to substantially reduce the dark leakage current through the photodiode to a desired level.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 19, 2003
    Publication date: June 23, 2005
    Inventors: Boyd Fowler, Janusz Balickl
  • Publication number: 20050036048
    Abstract: An imaging array having one or more columns of pixels is disclosed. Each pixel includes a photodiode including first and second terminals, a local reset circuit for connecting the first terminal to a column reset line; and a buffer circuit for selectively connecting the first terminal to a column bit line in response to a word select signal. Each column also includes a column reset circuit having an operational amplifier and a low-pass filter. The operational amplifier has a first input connected to the column bit line for that column and a second input connected to a reset signal generator that generates a reset signal during a reset cycle. The output of the operational amplifier is connected to the column reset line during the reset cycle. In one embodiment, the gain of the operational amplifier and the passband of the low-pass filter are varied during the reset cycle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 11, 2003
    Publication date: February 17, 2005
    Inventor: Boyd Fowler