The combined advantages of microelectronics and optics
An opto-based microchip implemented in standard CMOS technology has made it possible for DELTA to deliver a new type of chip which can be used within many industrial areas that normally require a pair of eyes or detection of luminance.
We have worked with this technology for more than 10 years and optics and ASIC engineers have worked together on development projects for many years. We believe that there is a great future in combining optic-physics and ASIC technologies. This has resulted in several new ideas of cost optimisation.
A newly developed optical sensor ASIC
Using laser light, arrays of optical photodiodes together with a micro-lens array developed in collaboration with OPDI Technologies, the new sensor ASIC sets a new standard for precision in optical microelectronics.
Usually, specially optimised silicon processes are used for making optical components, however, this optical sensor is produced in a standard 0.18 µm CMOS process, which paves the way for various applications and commercial products.
The sensor ASIC has on-chip photodiode arrays, some transimpedance amplifiers, differential amplifier and sample hold circuits - All in one chip
The unique features are:
- 0.5% accuracy
- 2 digital signals, 4 detectors and 75 lenslets
- Vs 400 digital signals from 400 detectors
- 3600 CPI vs 800
- Low power consumption
- Patented technology
The chip can be used as an artificial eye to take brightness measurements
Having experienced sunny days, we know that it is great to have a pair of sunglasses. From a purely practical point of view, what actually happens when we put on a pair of sunglasses is that we turn down the energy that the eye sees. Adjusting the light content by putting on a pair of sunglasses actually means that we are turning down the luminance. In principle, what we really want to do with this chip is to determine the luminance in relation to what the eye sees and then use this detection to control windows, glasses, TV screens, GPS receivers or instrument panels in cars.
Further examples of applications:
- Quality control and production monitoring
- Colour mark detection and colour measurements
- Precision photometry
- Proximity sensing
- Laser monitoring
- Optical power metering
- Portable colour reader for consumer and industrial applications
- Display colour adjustment and backlight/contrast control
- System calibration
- Detector for various light sources, mood lighting, solar tracking, solar panel alignment
- Eye wear such as sun glasses, ski goggles, motorcycle helmets
IP as prototypes for clients – a new design strategy
In order to help our clients inside features of optics, DELTA has developed various prototype ideas which our clients can use to build ‘Proff–of-concepts’. We have made prototype opto-chips consisting of diodes, filters, etc. Delivering prototypes of our optical sensors is a new design concept at DELTA which gives our clients the opportunity to experiment and ‘play’ their way to solving tasks. We will use this new concept within opto-ASIC and this can be compared with what we have previously done with the FPGA solutions within complex SOC designs.
DELTA has a great deal of application knowledge within opto and ASIC areas and really wants to help clients enabling the technology while at the same time verifying ‘Proof-of-Concept’, before investments are conducted about an actual development project.
A article about an opto-based microchip, written by Gert Jørgen, DELTA Microelectronic