CMOS image sensors have poorer performance compared to conventional charge coupled devices (CCDs). Since CMOS Active Pixel Sensors (APSs) in general have higher temporal noise, higher dark current, smaller full well charge capacitance, and lower spectral response, they cannot provide the same wide dynamic range and superior signal to noise ratio as CCDs. In view of electronic noise, the main source for the CMOS APS is the pixel, along with other signal processing blocks such as row and column decoder, analog signal processor (ASP), analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and timing and control logic circuitry. Therefore, it is important and necessary to characterize noise of the active pixels in CMOS APSs, and we performed experimental measurements and comparisons with theoretical estimations. To derive noise source of the pixels, we designed and fabricated four types of CMOS active pixels, and each pixel is composed of a photodiode and three MOS transistors. The size of these pixels is 100 mu m x 100 mu m. The test chip was fabricated using ETRI 0.8 mu m (2P/2M) standard CMOS process. It was found that the dominant noise in CMOS active pixels is shot noise during integration under normal operating conditions. And, it was also seen that epitaxial type pixels have similar noise level compared to nonepitaxial type, and the noise of diffusion type pixel is larger than for a well type pixel on the same substrate type. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.