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Sensor operates from 1 to 10,000 lux

Posted: 02 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intersil? el7900? optical sensor?

Intersil Corp. unveiled an optical sensor that converts light to current. The new EL7900 sensor operates in a wide range of lighting conditions from 1 lux to 10,000 lux. This information can be used to determine the amount of ambient light present, which allows automatic backlight or brightness control for backlit keyboards and LCD monitors, explained the company.

"As handheld designers are pushed to extend battery life of their device, innovative methods for saving power are being devised," said Oleg Steciw, Intersil's product line manager for ambient light sensors. "Our new EL7900 provides better brightness management, as well as, an improved solution to discrete photo resistor and/or photodiode use, where linearity is worse, and an additional amplifier is usually needed."

The EL7900 provides a simple current output that can be converted into a voltage with a single external resistor. According to the press release, this opens up many new possibilities in motion sensing, intrusion detection and other various medical or industrial sensing applications. By using the EL7900 ambient light sensor, a system can detect changing conditions and automatically adjust the settings to keep the display at optimal brightness and reduce overall power usage. The EL7900 also consumes little power itself, added Intersil, so there is no overhead by integrating it into the system.

The EL7900's output current is directly proportional to the light intensity on the integrated photodiode and the peak response of 540nm is extremely close to the peak sensitivity of the human eye. This device is designed to sense ambient light from 380nm to 770nm.

Intersil also disclosed that they are expanding its family of ambient light sensors with the release of the ISL29000. According to the company, this product is an extremely low power ambient light sensor suitable for the most demanding portable applications. Although it consumes less current, the ISL29000 provides the same linear response and wavelength sensitivity of the EL7900.

Both the EL7900 and ISL29000 perform over the -40C to 85C temperature range. The EL7900 is available in a 5-ld ODFN Pb-free finish, with a suggested resale price of 70 cents in 1,000-unit orders.

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