New Multispectral Sensors for Revolutionizing Consumer and Industrial Spectral Analysis

AS7262 multispectral color sensor block diagram (Credit: ams)

The world’s first series of cost-efficient multispectral sensor-on-chips has been launched by ams AG (SIX: AMS), which is a leading supplier of high-performance sensors and analog ICs. This breakthrough has paved the way for new-generation spectral analyzers for industrial as well as consumer applications.

The series comes as a small 4.5 mm x 4.4 mm land grid array package comprising of the AS7263 NIR sensor and the ultra-low power AS7262 visible range sensor. Each of the sensors provides six calibrated spectral channels. The competitive price of the new multispectral sensors enables their testing and usage in a broad array of real-world field and consumer applications.

The key solution areas are product quality and integrity, material and product authentication, and material content analysis in the visible and near-infrared (NIR) spectrums.

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 AS7262 and AS7263, enabling chip-scale spectral analysis, heralds a similar revolution that will open the door wide for spectral sensing innovation for both industrial and consumer applications. 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.

Jean Francois Durix, Marketing Director for Emerging Sensor Systems, ams

A new fabrication technology enabling the highly accurate and direct deposition of nano-optical interference filters on the CMOS silicon die has been employed for developing the multispectral sensors.

This interference filter technology ensures reproducible as well as highly accurate filter characteristics stable over both temperature and time. It also enables manufacture of more cost-effective and smaller components compared to those currently used in spectral analysis instruments.

The integrated intelligence of the AS7262 six-channel visible light sensor enables it to provide a calibrated digital output over a UART or I2C interface. The AS7262 operates in the visible light spectrum, measuring light intensity at six wavelengths, namely, 450, 500, 550, 570, 600, and 650 nm. The AS7263 detects 610, 680, 730, 760, 810, and 860 nm infrared signatures in the NIR spectrum.

An electronic shutter including LED drive circuitry fixed in both the devices, denoting that device designers can precisely control the spectral sensing functions as well as the light source by means of a single chip.

The striking combination of lower power consumption and smaller size of the new multispectral sensors allow measurement equipment original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create new types of product by virtue of the unique and advantageous features.

For example, heavy laboratory-grade analysis equipment can be substituted by convenient handheld ones. Samples that are separated from the production line in factories and transferred to a laboratory for quality testing and chemical analysis can now be tested in-line by using robust, small spectral analyzers produced using the new multispectral sensors.

Volume production of AS7262 and AS7263 is ongoing.

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