08 Mar 2022
Taiwanese firm demonstrates 'compact and cost-effective' multispectral optical sensing platform.
Artilux, the Taiwan-based company that has developed optical sensors based on germanium-on-silicon (GeSi) semiconductors, says it has now demonstrated a multispectral platform compatible with both vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays and LEDs.
Having previously set up a collaboration with major image sensor manufacturer OmniVision, Artilux is now working with Lumentum, whose 940 nm and 1380 nm VCSELs are set to offer new possibilities in biosensing and biometrics.
Crucially, the GeSi sensors are able to detect all the way out to 1550 nm in the near-infrared spectrum, meaning that they are able to take advantage of eye safety regulations that permit the use of more powerful light sources than at shorter wavelengths.
Last year Artilux said that its high-resolution sensor technology was ready for mass production on large-scale semiconductor wafers, thanks to a close collaboration with TSMC, the giant chip foundry located in Taiwan.
“Artilux is expanding the [wearables] ecosystem, by delivering compact and cost-effective CMOS-based short-wave infrared (SWIR) sensing solutions from 850 nm to 1550 nm,” announced the firm.
As well as using LEDs and VCSEL components to sense heart rate and blood oxygen - something already offered by conventional fitness trackers - the longer wavelength raises the possibility of monitoring more vital signs, for example blood pressure and the heart’s electrical activity.
In addition to that, it may be possible to incorporate blood lipid, blood alcohol, and blood glucose level monitoring to the sensors, in the form of a “clinic on the wrist” based around infrared spectroscopy.
David Cheskis, director of product line management for Lumentum’s 3D sensing business unit, commented:
“Since developing the first high-volume VCSEL array manufacturing capabilities for near-infrared 3D sensing applications, we continue to innovate next-generation technologies and solutions for emerging consumer applications.
“Our 1380 nm VCSEL demonstration is a key milestone as the SWIR market evolves with new sensor technologies.”