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ams launches range of low-cost multispectral sensors

19 Jan 2017

On-chip NIR/visible sensors intended to replace bulky benchtop lab analyzers with hand-held equivalents.

ams, an Austrian developer of high-performance sensor solutions and analog ICs, has launched what it is calling “the world’s first series of cost-effective multispectral sensor-on-chip solutions”, which it says opens the way for a new generation of spectral analyzers for both consumer and industrial applications.

Available in a land grid array package measuring 4.5 x 4.4mm, the low-power AS7262 visible range sensor and AS7263 NIR sensor each provide six calibrated spectral channels. The developer says that the multispectral sensors open the door to testing and use in a wide range of consumer and real-world field applications, such as material and product authentication, product quality and integrity assessment and material content analysis in the near-infrared (NIR) and visible spectrums.

Jean Francois Durix, Marketing Director for Emerging Sensor Systems at ams, commented, “In much the same way that intense sensor integration into smart phones and tablets has created a tidal wave of mobile applications, the launch of the AS7262 and AS7263, enabling chip-scale spectral analysis, heralds a similar revolution for spectral sensing innovation.

“The reduction in the size and cost of spectral analysis enabled by our sensors brings the lab to the sample for an incredible variety of applications from food safety and product authentication, to routine testing.”

Direct deposition

The multispectral sensors employ a new fabrication technique, which enables nano-optical interference filters to be deposited directly on the CMOS silicon die. This interference filter technology used for the sensors offers precise and reproducible filter characteristics that are stable over both time and temperature and are smaller and more cost-effective than the components typically used in today’s spectral analysis instruments.

The AS7262 six-channel visible light sensor with integrated intelligence provides a calibrated digital output over an I2C or UART interface. It measures light intensity at six wavelengths in the visible light spectrum: 450nm, 500nm, 550nm, 570nm, 600nm and 650nm. The AS7263 operates in the NIR spectrum detecting 610nm, 680nm, 730nm, 760nm, 810nm and 860nm infrared signatures. Both devices include an electronic shutter with LED drive circuitry, which means that device de-signers can accurately control the light source and the spectral sensing functions with a single chip. Unit pricing is $4.00 in order quantities of 1,000.

The small size of the new multispectral sensors combined with their low power consumption enable measurement equipment OEMs to develop new product types that take advantage of these unique attributes. For instance, bulky laboratory-grade analysis equipment can now be replaced by convenient handheld form factors. In factories, samples which today have to be removed from the production line and taken to a laboratory for chemical analysis or quality testing will be tested in-line by new small, robust spectral analyzers based on the multispectral sensors.

ECOPTIKBerkeley Nucleonics CorporationOptikos Corporation LaCroix Precision OpticsMad City Labs, Inc.HÜBNER PhotonicsHyperion Optics
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