Sony Corporation ("Sony") announces that it plans to further invest in Sony Semiconductor Corporation ("Sony Semiconductor") in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016 ("FY15") in order to increase its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors*1.
This investment is intended primarily to augment production facilities used in the mastering processes and layering and futher downstream processes*2 for stacked CMOS image sensors at Sony Semiconductor's Nagasaki Technology Center ("Nagasaki TEC") and Yamagata Technology Center ("Yamagata TEC").
With investments such as the one announced in February*3 and this supplementary investment, Sony plans to increase total production capacity for image sensors from the current level of approximately 60,000 wafers per month to the level of approximately 87,000 wafers per month*4 by the end of September 2016. The total additional investment amount is projected to be approximately 45 billion yen, comprising approximately 24 billion yen of investments in Nagasaki TEC and approximately 21 billion yen of investments in Yamagata TEC.
Stacked CMOS image sensors deliver superior image quality and advanced functionality in a compact size. Demand for these image sensors is anticipated to further increase, particularly within the expanding market for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Sony is striving to bolster its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors in order to solidify its leading position in the image sensor market.
*1:CMOS image sensors in a stacked structure that layer the pixel section containing back-illuminated structure pixels onto semiconductor chips containing the circuit for signal processing, in contrast to the supporting substrates used in conventional back-illuminated CMOS image sensors.
*2:The mastering process refers to the manufacture of photodiodes and wiring processes for stacked CMOS image sensors. The layering process refers to the layering of semiconductor chips containing back-illuminated structure pixels on top of semiconductor chips containing the circuit for signal processing.
*3:A separate investment of approximately 105 billion yen, intended to bolster production capacity from the current level of approximately 60,000 wafers per month to the level of approximately 80,000 wafers per month by the end of June 2016, was previously announced on February 2, 2015.
*4:This total production capacity (300mm wafer basis) includes the output of foundry operations to which Sony outsources a part of the manufacturing process. For the purposes of calculating total production capacity, the capacity of 200mm wafer production lines at the Kagoshima Technology Center and Nagasaki TEC are converted into equivalent amounts in terms of 300mm wafer production.