Si-Ware Systems (SWS), a provider of MEMS and IC solutions for industrial and consumer applications, has licensed its MEMS FT-IR spectrometer technology to Hamamatsu Photonics of Japan. Hamamatsu is the world leading supplier of optoelectronics components. The company announced its new FT-IR spectrometer last month. According to SWS, the MEMS based spectrometer 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 x 1 cm2 and contains all of the optical components. The electronics interface is a separate ASIC that is 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 that is powered through USB interface and consumes less than 150 mA. The module measures 8 x 6 x 3 cm3 and weighs less than 100 g.
"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 Hamamats'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). SWS said that 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 (DRIE). The structures are then wafer-level packaged and diced to create a one-chip optical system.
According to SWS, 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 while reducing costs. Having all the components on-chip creates a more reliable optical system that is 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 today from SWS. SWS was demonstrating its FT-IR spectrometer and providing more details on its SiMOST set of solutions at Photonics West 2013 in San Francisco held this week.
Si-Ware Systems is an independent fabless semiconductor company providing a wide spectrum of product design and development solutions, custom ASIC development and supply as well as standard products. The company leverages its teams in MEMS design and development, as well as analog/mixed-signal and radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) to provide 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.