Electronics & Computers

SWS Licenses FT-IR Technology to Hamamatsu

February 5, 2013

The photonics company will use the single-chip MEMS spectrometer to open up more possibilities for portable spectrometry, enabling the move from bulky and costly laboratory equipment to compact and inexpensive field equipment.

CAIRO, Egypt -- Si-Ware Systems (SWS), a premier provider of IC- and MEMS-based products for industrial and consumer applications, has licensed its MEMS FT-IR spectrometer technology to Hamamatsu Photonics of Japan.

Hamamatsu is a world-leading supplier of optoelectronic components. The company announced its new FT-IR spectrometer last month.

The FT-IR spectrometer developed by SWS and licensed to Hamamatsu is the "world's first single-chip spectrometer." All of the optical components of the spectrometer are monolithically integrated on one chip, using SWS's proprietary MEMS technology.

"The partnership with Hamamatsu Photonics is a winning formula that combines SWS's innovative technology with Hamamatsu's excellent manufacturing capabilities and market-leading products," said Bassam Saadany, Division Manager for Optical MEMS Technology at SWS. "The single-chip spectrometer now opens up many more possibilities for portable spectrometry, enabling the move from bulky and costly equipment in a laboratory to compact and inexpensive equipment in the field. SWS's single-chip spectrometer allows for the realization of a spectrometer in a handheld device such as a mobile handset."

The FT-IR spectrometer consists of a MEMS chip that measures 1 by 1 cm2 and contains all of the optical components. The electronics interface is a separate ASIC designed and produced by SWS's ASIC Solutions Division. The additional components of the system are a photodetector, optical fiber, and software. The initial system is contained in a module powered through a USB interface and consumes <150 mA. The module measures 8 by 6 by 3 cm3 and weighs <100 g. All of this makes it the "smallest and lowest power consuming spectrometer in the world."

"Hamamatsu has worked closely with our partner SWS to be able to bring this innovative product to market," said Mr. Koei Yamamoto, Executive Managing Director and General Manager for Hamamatsu's Solid State Division. "SWS's technology has enabled the development of our single-chip spectrometer and can enable many additional products."

The FT-IR spectrometer is the first product to be developed and released, based on SWS's Silicon integrated Micro Optical System Technology (SiMOST). SiMOST is a complete platform that enables the creation of monolithic optical systems using validated MEMS components. Multiple optical MEMS structures can be patterned and etched on SOI wafers using deep reactive ion etching. The structures are then wafer-level packaged and diced to create a one-chip optical system.

SiMOST allows for alignment free optics. Discrete optical systems have to go through precision alignment causing high assembly and packaging costs. SiMOST optical components are lithographically aligned on-chip, eliminating the need for time consuming and costly alignment.

The monolithic optical solution offered by SiMOST has advantages in size, cost, and reliability. Batch processing and mass production on semiconductor wafers greatly increases the volume of devices that can be manufactured simultaneously and reduces costs. Having all the components on-chip creates a more reliable optical system robust against shock and vibration. Finally, the dramatic size reduction creates the opportunity for new applications that were not before achievable with larger, discrete optical systems.

Evaluation kits for the FT-IR spectrometer are available from SWS. Contact SWS if you are interested in evaluating the FT-IR spectrometer or to find out how you can use SiMOST for your optical system.

SWS at Photonics West
SWS will be showing the FT-IR spectrometer and providing more details on its SiMOST set of solutions at Photonics West 2013 in San Francisco, being held February 5–7. SWS will have its booth in North Hall D of the Moscone Center (Booth #4108).

About Si-Ware Systems
Si-Ware Systems is an independent fabless semiconductor company, providing a wide spectrum of product design and development solutions, custom ASIC development and supply, and standard products.

The company leverages its highly talented teams in MEMS design and development, as well as analog/mixed-signal and radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) to provide highly innovative solutions and products in different areas, ranging from PLL-based timing circuits, sensor interfaces, frequency synthesis, data converters, RF front ends, and MEMS-based sensor systems.

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