Sensing new horizons

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Warren Clark rounds up the latest launches in the sensors and detectors market

AMS Technologies.

Among the latest products to hit the market are those from AMS Technologies AG (, which has introduced the Aurora series from OSI Optoelectronics. The products offer a combination of high performance Si, InGaAs, PIN or APD detectors and electronics up to 100MHz bandwidth.

The module incorporates a detector, transimpedance amplifier, post amplifier, filter and impedance matching network in one package. They are designed with features like plug-and-play with no need to incorporate any additional electronics. They are scalable and can be used either as a stand-alone standard product form factor with fixed specifications or modified to specific requirements.

All devices are offered in three types of packaging: Metal Module (7000 series), TO-Module (5000 series) and Surface Mount Module (3000 series). Aurora is designed for applications such as high-speed communication, laser range finding, medical equipment and high-speed photometry.

Also available from AMS is the SensorChip-CO2- 4P, from ICx Photonics, which is a MEMs-based CO2 gas sensor module for the industrial gas sensing arena. The module integrates advanced infrared sensor technology within a 4P housing, and contains all of the electronics and optics required to accurately measure CO2 in a variety of industrial applications.

ET Enterprises ( has developed a range of photomultipliers for use at ultra-low temperatures in astrophysics applications to help uncover the mysteries of dark matter. Available in sizes from 30mm to 200mm in diameter, they allow normal operation to be achieved down to liquid nitrogen temperature, which would not be possible with standard photomultipliers. The range includes types with flat or hemispherical windows, quartz or ultra low background glass, and different photocathode options.

ET Enterprises.

Femto Messtechnik ( provides the HCA-S-200M series of 200MHz photoreceivers. The high-speed photoreceiver offers a bandwidth of DC to 200MHz for fast optical measurements with rise times as low as 1.8ns.

Two models with either a built-in silicon or InGaAs photodiode cover a spectral range from 320 to 1700nm. The photoreceivers incorporate a low noise amplifier with a gain of 2 x 104 V/A for the fast and sensitive measurement of signals with an optical power down to 1μW. An integrated offset circuitry allows the compensation of the photodiode dark current and of unwanted background signals overlaying the actual signal of interest.

The signal is fully DC coupled to allow accurate measurement of pulses and digital signals without distortions. The photoreceiver comes in a well shielded and compact metal housing for use on lab tables even in narrow spaces. In addition to models with free space input, customised units with alternative FC or SMA fibre inputs are also available for measurements on fibre optic systems.

Typical applications of the HCA-S-200M photoreceivers include spectroscopy, laser characterisation, pulse and transient measurements, testing of communication equipment, industrial sensing, as well as general lab use in scientific applications.

Imagine Optic ( provides HASO3, the most recent evolution of its HASO wavefront sensor product line. Based on patented Shack-Hartmann technology, HASO3 provides simultaneous yet independent phase and intensity measurements over an exceptionally wide dynamic range, without compromising on accuracy.

For integrators and manufacturers (OEM), HASO3 provides key advantages including true absolute measurement, resolutions from 1024 to more than 16,000 measurement points, compact size, low power consumption, high-quality optical assemblies, rugged durability and multiple connectivity options.

HASO3 is delivered with HASOv3 wavefront analysis software. From one ergonomic and userfriendly interface, customers can measure in both absolute and relative modes; perform zonal and modal wavefront reconstruction; calculate the PSF, MTF and Strehl ratio; visualise the spot diagram; obtain the M2 parameter; and more. The optional software development kit (SDK) enables users to seamlessly integrate HASO3 precision into workflow in a wide array of applications.

International Radiation Detectors (IRD) (, the manufacturer of semiconductor radiation sensors for detecting photons and other particles, has introduced the SXUV 100 ultraviolet/extreme ultraviolet (UV/EUV) photodiode.

The photon detector possesses very high radiation hardness and is designed for long-lifetime operation in high particle flux environments with no loss of responsivity. IRD’s SXUV 100 photodiodes feature 10 x 10mm square active area (100mm2). Diodes with single active areas are available from 1 to 576mm2; quadrant diodes with several central openings may also be specified. The nitrided metal silicide front window of the SXUV 100 diode permits operation without loss of performance in high humidity and other environmental conditions that normally require sealed packages.

Lambda Photometrics ( is distributing the Gentec-EO XLP12-1S-H2 eXtreme Low Power detector, which is suitable for measuring any pulsed or CW low power laser in the μW to mW regimes with very low thermal drift and can be used up to 1W (continuously) and 2W (intermittently). The detector has a Noise Equivalent Power of +/- 0.5μWatt, a Thermal Drift of 12μW/°C, a calibration uncertainty of +/- 2.5 per cent, a broadband flat spectral response and a high sensitivity (200mV/W without filter, 180 mV/W with filter). Its availability with or without a filter is useful to reduce the air turbulence often present at very low powers and also filters IR wavelengths thereby reducing the heat radiation and so any external influence on the temperature reading.

Also available is the Gentec-EO 17mm aperture Ultra Power detector, suitable for measuring up to 3W of average power continuously and 4W intermittently with an extremely thin profile. Due to its 10.7mm thickness, the UP17P-3S detector will be perfect for integration into a system incorporating a 3-4W laser and has a +/- 2.5 per cent calibration uncertainty. The detector is available with either the H5 high damage threshold coating (max ave power density threshold: 36kW/cm2) or the W5 very high damage threshold coating (max ave power density threshold: 100kW/cm2).

Laser Components ( offers a wide range of detectors from UV (SiC, silicon UV enhanced), visible (Si photodiodes, APDs, position sensitive detectors (PSD) and colour sensors), and infrared (InGaAs, lead salt (PbS/PbSe), thermopile and pyroelectric detectors).

Laser Components.

Coupled with a large laser of light sources, from IR Emitters, LEDs and laser diodes, a comprehensive range of IR detectors are available. While some of the specialist APDs are manufactured in house, many other detectors are produced by partner suppliers, such as Applied Photonics, Cal Sensors, Dexter Research Center, and InfraTec. Working in partnership, Laser Components offers a comprehensive range of UV-FIR detectors, and if required a wide choice of light sources and optics, including optical filters.

LayTec ( operates in the field of in-situ monitoring systems for epitaxial thin-film growth (MOVPE, MBE). Its sensors measure growth rate, layer thickness, doping levels, ternary material composition, surface roughness, substrate temperature and strain-induced substrate bowing with an extreme precision already during the deposition process.

LayTec’s EpiCurve device.

Its EpiCurve TT type of sensors allows simultaneous and wafer-selective temperature, reflectance and wafer bowing measurements with a resolution up to 0.3km-1. The EpiTT sensors are ideal for LED production and provide emissivity corrected temperature measurements based on the combination of pyrometry and reflectance measurements at two optimised wavelengths. EpiRAS TT is an advanced multi-wafer in-situ sensor for cubic compound semiconductors. It is a unique tool for the R&D of GaAs- and InP-based optoelectronic devices.

Newport Spectra-Physics ( has a range of sensors and detectors, including the 918D-IS-1 Universal Fibre Optic Detector, which uses a symmetrical integrating sphere design to ensure accurate calibration, regardless of the fibre type measured. The integrating sphere uses a novel dual detector design, with special optics that improve temperature sensitivity markedly from ordinary detectors. It is fully calibrated to NIST traceable standards over the wavelength range of 400-1650nm. The 918D-ISIG uses a single InGaAS detector and is calibrated over the range of 800-1650nm. The 918D-IS-SL uses a single silicon detector and is calibrated over the range 400-1100nm. The 918D-IS versions have an integral DB15 connector and are compatible with Newport’s new power meters. Maximum versatility is provided by the detector’s dual port design. A variety of adapters for connector-terminated fibres are provided, and plug into the detector’s front port. The rear port is designed to measure light from straight and angle cleaved bare fibres, using Newport’s FP3-FH1 bare fibre holder. A complete kit of adaptors is included with each detector, together with a rugged carrying case.

Ocean Optics ( produces the Redeye oxygen sensing patch, which uses fluorescence quenching of the ruthenium or porphyrin complex to measure the partial pressure of dissolved or gaseous oxygen in packaging and other environments. Integrated into packaging and other vessels during the manufacturing process, when used with a blue LED and fluorometer, Red-Eye will quantitatively report the amount of oxygen in the package. Available in FOSPOR, HIOXY and FOXY coatings, RedEye can be produced to customer specifications and is especially well suited for applications such as point-of-care analysis, blood bag analysis, beverage and food packaging, bio process control and cell culture monitoring.

Ocean Optics’ oxygen sensing patch.

Optek Technology ( has developed a cost-effective reflective object sensor with three different lead options. The OPB609 consists of an infrared LED and NPN silicon phototransistor, mounted side-by-side on parallel axes.

Typical applications for the reflective object sensor include assembly line and machine automation, machine safety, end-of-travel sensing and door sensing, as well as edge, paper jam and mark detection.

The OPB609 Series reflective sensor is available with axial, gull wing or right angle lead configurations. The epoxy package is spectrally matched to IR wavelengths of 940nm, and cutting wavelengths of less than 840nm. The phototransistor features a collector-emitter voltage of 30V and emitter-collector voltage of 5V. Collector DC current is 50mA, with a power dissipation rating of 75mW.

Optek’s cost-effective product.

The 940nm infrared LED has a maximum forward voltage of 1.7V and a reverse DC voltage of 5V. Forward DC current is 50mA, with a maximum reverse current of 10μA and peak forward current of 1A. Power dissipation rating is 75mW. Operating temperature range for the object sensor is -25 to 85°C.

Pacer ( has introduced a new series of surface mount infrared reflective sensors from TT Optek, which offer an extremely fast response time and high sensitivity.

The OPB609 series is ideally suited for detection of diffused materials with a faster response time on phototransistor outputs. The devices have a thin and compact design. High quality and reliability, and high product-life expectancy also differentiate this series.

Industrial applications for the sensors include assembly line automation, machine automation, microcomputer control equipment, machine safety, end of travel sensor, door sensor, edge detection, jam and mark detection.

Also available via Pacer is the range of TPS-23x miniature thermopile sensors for low-cost temperature measurement applications, manufactured by PerkinElmer. This extremely small range offers cap diameters from just 3.56mm for the TPS-230, and a new isothermal cap gives the TPS-23B variant excellent thermal shock behaviour. Sensitivity ranges between 22 and 58μV/K. The sensors enable pyrometer design with a small viewing angle and a perfectly round measurement spot, for applications including industrial temperature measurement and ear thermometers.

Also just announced is the IR-BLOC family of low-cost ambient light sensors, believed to be the first Silicon phototransistor-based ambient light sensors with IR-blocking fully incorporated in a plastic epoxy package. The spectral response is similar to the human eye, ideal for applications where the response should only be influenced by visible light. Applications include street lighting, dusk/dawn switching and automotive headlight dimming.

Paraytec ( provides the ActiPix D100 miniature UV-visible absorbance detector, a UV area imaging detector that allows minute (picolitre to nanolitre) volumes to be measured with high sensitivity without sacrificing spatial resolution. The ActiPix D100 improves upon existing nanoscale UV detector technologies removing obstacles restricting the sensitivity, throughput and user-friendliness of current instrumentation.

Parytec’s ActiPix D100.

PerkinElmer ( has introduced the Series 200EP PDA, a new photo diode array detector that features high linearity and spectral integrity, allowing excellent qualitative and quantitative analysis of complex mixtures. With its wide linear dynamic range and low drift, the Series 200EP PDA detector is suitable for demanding analyses of samples with a wide variation in compound concentration, such as drug or environmental samples.

SensL ( produces SPMScint, which combines a high-performance sensor, epoxy T05 package, and low-cost format. The device is designed for use with scintillators in radiation detection applications. The SPMScint is a solidstate detector sensitive to single photons. The detector, consisting of an array of Geiger Mode Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs), is a type of detector commonly referred to as a Silicon Parytec’s ActiPix D100. Photomultiplier (SPM). The SPMScint combines high gain and quantum efficiency characteristics comparable to Photomultiplier Tube (PMT) detectors, with the additional benefits of silicon technology, such as compact size, magnetic field insensitivity, low operating voltage, robustness, and tolerance to overexposure. The detector surface can be placed in close proximity (<1mm) to an emitting surface of a scintillator crystal. Tests have demonstrated an energy resolution of 12.5 per cent at 511keV with an LSO scintillation crystal.

SensL’s SPMScint.

The SPMScint is available as a T05 package solution or integrated on a PCB with transimpedance or pulse amplifier. With an active area of 1mm2 or 9mm2, the SPMScint is an ideal detector for OEMs designing equipment for homeland security, nuclear medicine, environmental sensing, and high energy physics.

Also available from SensL is a position-sensitive, multi-anode, Silicon Photomultiplier Array (SPMArray), a solid-state large array detector, based on silicon photomultiplier technology. The SPMArray will be of particular interest to developers of detector systems for applications such as PET, Gamma Camera, and Radiation Detection for medical and security purposes and to those working with fluorescence applications requiring very sensitive detector arrays.

Spectrum Detector ( manufactures a large area, LiTaO3 pyroelectric detector hybrid for use in many applications including energy measurement, power measurement, radiometry, spectral radiometry, FTIR and IR gas analysis. It is offered in either a voltage or current mode circuit with NEP in the nW range and Rv as high as 13,000 V/W. Add an organic black absorbing coating for excellent flat spectral response from 0.25 to 14.0μm.

Spectrum Detector.

Specialising in the manufacture and sales of uncooled infrared detectors for thermal imaging, Ulis ( has launched its new detector, UL 03 16 2, which is suitable for civilian low-cost applications like predictive maintenance and thermography with portable infrared cameras. This detector, including a 384x 288 pixel array with a pitch of 25μm, is integrated into a miniaturised package without Peltier. It is well adapted for new smaller infrared cameras. Like all current ULIS products, it is manufactured from an amorphous, silicon-resistive thermometer. In addition, it offers an ADC on chip. For these reasons, it allows a high level of performances and an associated simplified electronic board.