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ams acquires NXP CMOS sensor business

Sensor and analog IC company ams AG has acquired the CMOS Sensor Business from NXP Semiconductors. The acquisition expands ams’ environmental sensor portfolio with advanced monolithic and integrated CMOS sensors that measure several environmental variables such as relative humidity, pressure and temperature in one sensor device.

“Environmental sensors can replicate and enhance human responses by monitoring and measuring smell, pressure and temperature. By capturing this information electronically, data-driven decisions can be made automatically and efficiently,” said Thomas Riener, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Strategy at ams. “The acquisition of NXP’s CMOS Sensor Business expands our existing environmental sensor technologies and is a synergistic addition to our chemical sensor capabilities and smart lighting solutions. This portfolio makes ams the one-stop shop for environmental sensors.”

The newly enlarged line of ams environmental sensors is anticipated to drive high-value growth opportunities for smart phones, wearables, and other mobile devices as well as for smart buildings and the industrial, medical and automotive markets. The cost-effective smart sensor systems will combine intelligence, wired and wireless interfaces, and advanced power management to increase human comfort, reduce energy costs, and provide additional safety and security. Particular attributes of the new sensors include the following:

Minimum size, leveraging on chip-scale package (CSP) technology
Greatly reduced package complexity and cost
Very low power consumption
Best-in-class analog front ends
Outstanding performance and accuracy
Easy integration with other sensors
Specially developed sensor fusion software allows information from multiple sources within the environment to be combined and creates context awareness for delivering information to users.

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Sample applications include the following:

Mobile devices/Wearables: Sensors are expected to allow for the detection of air quality or breath alcohol levels, and can provide weather alarms. Sensors will also be able to offer humidity compensation for gas sensing and allow for comfort awareness and indoor navigation.
In Home and Building Automation, distributed Relative Humidity (RH) and temperature sensors in combination with Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) sensors will be able to accurately monitor the indoor climate and air quality, which will contribute to a more efficient use of the air conditioning and ventilation systems. VOC and RH sensors can be used in the distribution chain of perishable goods such as food to monitor the quality during transportation and storage. RH and T sensors can also assist in improving the drying process of ink-jet printers by sensing humidity levels in the air and within the paper, and can assist in improving print quality for toner-based printers by sensing RH in the toner.
Automotive: Sensors will be able to test interior humidity and air quality, then instruct the vehicle to make changes in airflow such as defogging the windshield or turning on the air conditioning.

The new additions to the environmental sensor product portfolio are available for customer sampling now. Temperature and relative humidity sensor solutions will be in mass production early in 2016.

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