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Start-up bares gas sensors for mobiles

Posted: 31 Jul 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:gas sensors? SOI-CMOS? CCS800?

The CCS800 family of miniature gas sensors developed by start-up Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd can detect alcohol (ethanol), hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.

The company claims that its patented micro-hotplate technology and a compact 2mm by 3mm by 1mm package developed with the ASE group enables gas sensors to be used within smartphones, tablet computers, and wearable devices. Side benefits of the small-sized gas sensor include lower power consumption than competitors' sensors and shorter stabilisation and response times.

The sensors employ high-temperature tungsten MOSFET heaters embedded in a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) membrane. These effectively form a micro-hotplate that heats the sensing material, allowing it to react with gas molecules. The MOSFETs can be fabricated in a commercial SOI-CMOS process and therefore can be fully integrated with the associated drive/detection circuitry.

The micro-hotplates are suspended in a high reliability membrane and act as heater elements for a metal oxide (MOX)-based sensing material. The material resistance will change due to reactions to selected gases and concentrations at temperatures typically between 200C and 400 C.

Traditionally, MOX gas sensors tend to be non-specific and react to a multitude of gases and baseline and sensitivity vary from sensor to sensor and drift over time.

The CCS800 product family is available in three variants801, 802, 803tuned for air quality monitor, carbon monoxide, and ethanol, respectively. All three are sampling and the CCS_EVK02 is an evaluation kit for the family.

Cambridge CMOS Sensors was formed in 2009 as spinout from the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering and licensed technology from the University of Warwick.

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