Circular array of photodiodes plus electronics produced on a silicon wafer
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    334 Optical Instruments and Photographic Equipment
Optische Sensorsysteme (OPTI-SENS), with 9 employees, design, manufacture and sell a range of optical systems. Their range of products includes CCD line scan cameras, and special sensors and systems for quality and process control. In addition the carry out contract design and prototype manufacture for special purpose optical systems. Their specialist skills are in optical system design and analogue and digital electronics. The company was founded in 1992, and their turnover in 1997 was 1.2 M EURO.

At the start of this AE, OPTI-SENS had an unique special purpose optical system which could detect the surface finish of cylindrical objects. Unfortunately this utilised an optical sensor array system manufactured by a company in the USA who were withdrawing the product, and there was no second source available. The bought-in item comprised 720 pixels on a 7.1mm diameter, with the electronic on a separate chip. Thus OPTI-SENS were faced with the choice of either discontinuing this product range or developing their own sensor array. Since this product range produced between 5 and 10% of their turnover, OPTI-SENS decided to develop their own sensor array. The objective of this AE was to produce a microsystem comprising an optical sensor array plus the associated electronics on a single Silicon wafer. This would utilise a white light source and have 2048 photo diodes on a 7.4 mm diameter. The final instrument would be able to measure cylindrical objects between 5 and 120mm. The aim was also to reduce the cost by 60% and improve the accuracy/resolution by a factor of 3. All of these objectives were met in the AE, which lasted for 16 months and cost 95K EURO. It will cost a further 25K EURO and take another 9 months to productionise the instrument.

The payback period will be 9 months after the product goes onto the market, which will be 1 year after the AE finished. The ROI will be 35 times the initial investment, assuming a 3 year product life.

The FU learnt that when developing a new microsystem with sensors and associated electronics, it is essential that the right sub contractor is used and that a contract is prepared which defines the deliverables and the cost. It is also essential that all possible risks are highlighted from the outset. In this AE the sub contractor did not recognise one potential problem concerned with routing off grid structures, which arose since the sensors were arranged in a circular form. The result was a significant delay to the project, and a cost overrun which was met by the sub contractor.

Optische Sensorsysteme GmbH (OPTI-SENS)
Robert-Bosch Str, 11
Konstanz 78467

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

MST technology provided Optische Sensorsysteme GmbH with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

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