Ams, a big maker of analog semiconductors, said it has created a digital multispectral sensor on a chip in a move that could pave the way for new kinds of devices across a number of industries.
The Premstaetten, Austria-based company said that the sensors could enable devices that keep track of your health, such as heart rate, hydration level, glucose measurements, and wound monitoring. The sensors could also be used in industrial and environmental systems that replace bulky lab analysis tools with handheld devices to test samples in a production line.
The AS7262 and AS7263 six-channel digital multispectral sensor chips could also be used for chemical detection such as identifying narcotics, explosives, food, and other objects. The sensors could be used for tasks such as authenticating users and detecting counterfeits.
The technology competes with a similar molecular sensor developed by Consumer Physics and Analog Devices to distinguish real and fake objects, such as counterfeit Viagra.
By putting the technology in a single package, Ams hopes to pave the way for a new generation of spectral analyzers for consumer and industrial applications.
“In much the same way that intense sensor integration into our smartphones and tablets has created a tidal wave of new mobile applications, the launch of the [sensors] heralds a similar revolution that will open the door wide for spectral sensing innovation for both industrial and consumer applications,” said Jean-Francois Durix, a marketing director at Ams, in a statement. “The dramatic reduction in the size and cost of spectral analysis enabled by our new spectral sensing solutions brings the lab to the sample for an incredible variety of applications from food safety and product authentication, to routine testing that can better protect both our health and our environment.”
The multispectral sensors employ a new fabrication technique that deposits nano-optical interference filters directly on the CMOS silicon die with precision. The interference filter technology used for the sensors offers extremely precise and reproducible filter characteristics that are stable over both time and temperature and are much smaller and more cost-effective than the components typically used in today’s spectral analysis instruments.
The AS7262 and AS7263 are in volume production now. Unit pricing is $4 in order quantities of 1,000. Ams was founded in 1981 and it has 2,100 people. It is listed on the Swiss stock exchange under the symbol AMS. The company started as a joint venture between AMI Semiconductor (AMIS) and Voestalpine. It was previously known as Austriamicrosystems.