NIR sensor enables low-power 3D optical sensing

ams unveils near infrared sensor
ams' near infrared (NIR) image sensor CGSS130 enables 3D optical sensing applications such as face recognition and payment authentication at lower power than alternative implementations. (ams)

Sensor supplier ams has introduced the CMOS Global Shutter Sensor (CGSS) Near Infrared (NIR) image sensor CGSS130, which enables 3D optical sensing applications such as face recognition, payment authentication and more to operate at much lower power than alternative implementations. It allows battery-powered devices to run longer between charges, while supporting more sophisticated sensor functions.

The CGSS130 sensor is four times more sensitive to NIR wavelengths than most other image sensors on the market today. It reliably detects reflections from very low-power IR emitters in 3D sensing systems. Since the IR emitter consumes most of the power in face recognition and other 3D sensing applications, the use of the CGSS130 sensor will enable manufacturers to extend battery run-time in mobile devices.

The sensor also creates the opportunity to implement face recognition in wearable devices and in other products which are powered by a very small battery, or enable a new range of applications beyond face recognition as the increased sensitivity extends the measurement range for the same power budget.

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Stephane Curral, EVP and GM at ams’ ISS division, said in a statement: “The 1.3 MP stacked BSI sensor offers the highest Quantum Efficiency at 940 nm, ideally suited for battery-powered devices. By supplying all main parts of the 3D system (illumination, receiver, SW) ams enables superior system performance with lower costs and a faster time to market for its customers.“

ams’ strategy is to further broaden its portfolio in all three 3D sensing technologies—Active Stereo Vision (ASV), Time-of-Flight (ToF) and Structured Light (SL)—while accelerating time to market for a more differentiated set of new products. The constituents of the CGSS130 reflect this strategy to cover a wide range of applications such as ASV systems, e-locks, room scanning, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as well as other applications.

The CGSS130 sensor has a high quantum efficiency at the NIR wavelengths, up to 40% at 940 nm, and up to 58% at 850 nm. Thanks to the stacked BSI process used to fabricate the CGSS global shutter image sensors, they offer a very small footprint; the CGSS130’s die is just 3.8 x 4.2 mm and the GS pixel size is 2.7 micrometers.

The sensor produces monochrome images with an effective pixel array of 1080 H × 1280 V at a maximum frame rate of 120 frames/s. This high frame rate and global shutter operation produce clean images free of blur or other motion artifacts.

The sensor also offers a high dynamic range (HDR) mode in which it achieves dynamic range of more than 100 dB. It also implements advanced functions such as external triggering, windowing, and horizontal or vertical mirroring.