Friday, February 02, 2018

Sony Enters Polarization Imaging Market

Lucid Vision Labs, a Canadian company founded by ex-Point Grey Founder, President and VP of Engineering Rod Barman, appears to be the first one presenting a camera with Sony IMX250MZR (a polarization version of 5MP 3.45um GS pixel IMX250 mono sensor):

"Sony expands their sensor technology leadership beyond visible imaging with their first ever polarized sensor. Built upon their Pregius 5.0 MP IMX250 CMOS sensor, the new IMX250MZR (mono) sensor incorporates a layer of polarizers above the photodiodes. Four different angled polarizers (90°, 45°, 135° and 0°) are placed on each pixel with every block of four pixels making up a calculation unit. The relationship between the different directional polarizers in this innovative 4- pixel block design is able to calculate both the degree and direction of polarization.

Sony’s IMX250MZR polarizer array layer is an air-gap nano wire-grid coated with an anti-reflection material that suppresses flaring and ghosting. The polarizer array is positioned on-chip as opposed to on-glass. Because of this placement, the on-chip polarizer is closer to the photodiode and produces high extinction ratios.

Sony 4-pixel polarizer structure

Lucid presents its Phoenix polarized camera based on Sony sensor at Photonics West:

"Polarization imaging can be used to detect stress or defects in manufacturing of materials such as plastic, glass and carbon fiber. With the help of polarization cameras, many material properties that were impossible to identify with conventional RGB sensors can be easily acquired now. Polarization imaging can be a cost-effective way to solve imaging challenges and uncover hidden material properties to better perform inspection and classification in industrial applications."


  1. With only _linear_ polarizers it is impossible to distinguish circularly polarized light from unpolarized light or elliptically polarized light from partially polarized light... Thus the measure of the “degree of polarization” is questionable...
    May the device have some (more or less achromatic) λ/4 retarder plate over one (or two) pixel(s) of the 2×2 pixel bloc to measure circular polarization in order to effectively give access to the degree of polarization and the elliptical state of the totally polarized part of the incoming light?
    A physicist...

    1. The sensor can be used to get degree of linear polarization as well as the orientation which is sufficient for many applications.

  2. one cool thing about this sensor is: electronically this is a IMX250, so you just solder it on your existing IMX250 camera board. same registers etc... (also you can have the same board/firmware for IMX252/253) (btw... the sensor was announced at least 2 years back, there was a presentation at the Framos Techdays 2016).

  3. What is the cost of this camera?

    1. You can contact LUCID.

  4. Contact FRAMOS. Eval kit is available.

  5. We have worked very closely with the people at Sony based on our core capability. Using polarization angles to determine depth data at high resolution.

    Take a look and if you would like to chat it would be a pleasure


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