Gas sensor for smartphones picks up major award


Cambridge CMOS sensors picked up the Product of the Year award in late November at the National Microelectronics Institute (NMI) awards.
The gong recognises the firm’s noteworthy approach to understanding market needs, customer acceptance and reliability methodology with respect to the CCS801 sensor for Indoor Air Quality Monitoring. This is the second successive year that CCS has been honoured in the annual NMI Awards, after winning last year’s Innovation Award.
In early November the company launched the CCS811, the first digital product in its CCS800 product family of ultra-low power miniature gas sensors.
The CCS811 integrates a metal oxide gas sensor with a microcontroller sub-system which enables Indoor Air Quality Monitoring, ease of design, extended battery life and reduced system cost for smartphones, wearables and connected home devices. It is based on CCS’s unique Micro-hotplate technology which enables a highly reliable solution for gas sensors, very fast cycle times and a significant reduction in average power consumption compared with traditional metal oxide gas sensors.

Design win with smartphones in China
The firm also recently announced the first design win for the sensor, in phones produced by Shenzhen-based K-Free Wireless – white-box smartphones which are branded with the names of carriers. The CCS811 can be configured to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde (emanating from furniture, for example). It could also be used to let a smartphone function as a breathalyser. The sensor could also be configured to measure the presence of nitrous oxides, a focus of health concerns in urban areas as a result of traffic fumes.
Alterations made to the top layers of metal oxide on the chip, during manufacture, can configure the device to detect specific gases.
The chips also support a roadmap of continual size reduction, in accordance with the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS).