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Optical sensors
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Highly precise optical sensors manufactured in-house – the right solution for any application

Be it distance measurement, driver assistance system, or robot vacuum cleaner: Modern technology virtually cannot be imagined without optical detectors. Also referred to as optical proximity switches, the small components basically include a light transmitter (such as an LED or a laser diode) and an optical receiver (usually a photodiode or a light-sensitive resistor). The receiver evaluates the corresponding information depending on the strength of the intensity, color, or travel time emitted from the transmitter to the receiver.

In distance measurement, for instance, this works using travel time measurement: The light source sends a short impulse. Afterward, the time it takes the light beam to travel from the light source to the receiver and back via reflection is measured. Measurements using phasing and triangulation with lasers or LEDs are possible alternative types of measurement. Other systems such as capacitive sensor systems (response to the vibration frequency) or inductive sensor systems (response to metallic items) have an important technical limitation: They only respond to objects made of specific types of material.

Many devices, however, call for a lot of flexibility and variability. This usually requires customer-specific solutions. The focus in these cases is typically on size and design, a long range, measurement speed, legal requirements, or also the tolerance of the detector towards environmental influences such as changes in ambient temperature. First Sensor develops and manufactures precise solutions from a single source and with long-term supply continuity. Our product portfolio includes detectors, modules and customer-specific solutions in every design. First Sensor products are an integral part of the customers’ applications.

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Maximum expertise for precise detector technology

First Sensor’s closed process chain includes everything from design to manufacture and integrates all the essential key components: From component development and production in cleanrooms of the semiconductor plant to packaging of integrated circuits and optoelectronic hybrid integration to complete system development. As complete solutions, our products guarantee maximum reliability and durability for the development at the customer’s.

What opportunities does First Sensor provide for my product development?

Know-how with in-house production

Since 2008, we have been developers and manufacturers of sensor and measurement technology with our own state-of-the-art sensor plant with 1,200 m² ISO 5 class cleanroom area, our own prototype assembly, as well as packaging capabilities. Complete testing capabilities and failure analysis tools are part of the plant as well.

All the products First Sensor manufactures in its vertically integrated silicon semiconductor process are “made in Germany”. From single chips to arrays and components, small, compact design, high sensitivity, fast rise time, good signal-to-noise behavior, and low dark current are emphasized.


Optical sensors by First Sensor for all industries and applications

It does not matter whether the component must be very small, extremely accurate, or both – First Sensor has the right solution. Our products are also suitable for use in harsh environments, dynamic ranges, and spontaneous changes in the optoelectrical parameters. They are used in all areas where optical detectors are key to efficiency and innovative procedures.

  • Distance measurement
    Optical proximity switches offer best accuracy for the measurement of distances. They are flexible and can be used in almost any environment.
  • Light barriers, light grids, light curtains
    Optical solutions such as light barriers allow the reliable and discrete protection of danger zones and hazardous areas – for the protection of staff and infrastructure.
  • Driver assistance systems, LIDAR
    Optoelectronic sensors offer more safety for personal mobility in LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and other assistance systems because they ensure secure object recognition.environment.
  • Light barriers, light grids, light curtains
    Optical solutions such as light barriers allow the reliable and discrete protection of danger zones and hazardous areas – for the protection of staff and infrastructure.
  • 3D mapping
    Projection mapping allows the visualization of true-to-original static or moving images. Fast, precise sensor technology is indispensable in this regard.
  • Laser scanners
    Scanning a room or an object with laser sensors produces detailed images of three-dimensional structures. This procedure is used in mechanical engineering, research, and many other fields.

Which technology suits my application?

Optical sensors are divided into different types of technologies. Each has its advantages and disadvantages – know-how and application experience are key for selecting the perfect detector. We will find the right solution for all applications.

Pin-PhotodiodenPIN (silicon)

Strengths: PIN photodiodes offer a good dynamic range even in harsh ambient conditions. They are cost-effective and temperature-independent.
Weaknesses: The diodes only have a low bandwidth, offer poor signal-to-noise behavior, and slow signal detection. Internal gain of the signal is not possible.

Silizium-PhotomultiplierSiPM/SPAD
Strengths: Thanks to the internal signal gain, silicon photomultipliers (SiPM) and single-photon avalanche diodes (SPAD) are able to detect even ultra-low amounts of light.
Weaknesses: SiPM and SPAD have lower sensitivity as compared to avalanche photodiodes (APDs). They have a poor signal-to-noise behavior, are temperature-sensitive, saturation occurs rapidly.

InGaAs-PhotodiodenInGaAs
Strengths: Sensors with semiconductors made of indium gallium arsenide offer a high range and an excellent dynamic range even in harsh ambient conditions.
Weaknesses: InGaAs are temperature sensitive thus requiring external cooling. The expensive raw material makes them an expensive solution that is not designed for mass production.

Avalanche-PhotodiodenAPD (silicon)
Strengths: Avalanche photodiodes (APDs) feature internal signal gain, resulting in at least 80 % of the light being absorbed and thus detected. They offer fast optical signal detection and processing, good signal-to-noise behavior, low saturation, and are inexpensive.
Weaknesses: APDs are temperature-sensitive. Their distance detection is lower than that of alternative methods.


Selecting the appropriate technology requires technical know-how and comprehensive industry knowledge.

With the profound industry knowledge regarding the markets of our customers, which First Sensor has acquired in almost 30 years of company history, we can provide you with the right technology for your requirement. We develop and manufacture the perfect solution from the chip to the complete measuring system to suit your application.

In addition to technical requirements, quantities, supply requirements, and costs, we also keep an eye on the applicable standard specifications and quality standards. Considering all the internal and external factors, we implement even the most demanding requirements.


These are the benefits customers get when opting for First Sensor optical sensors

  • Cross-industry know-how: Industry and consumers use our sensing elements in applications from laser scanning to assistance systems and robot vacuum cleaners.
  • Outstanding technological range: With products that are based on a wide range of optical detector principles, we can provide the right product for every application.
  • Closed process chain: We provide everything from design to manufacturing from a single source – all tailored to your needs.
  • Complete solutions: First Sensor products ensure highest reliability in the development of your solutions.
  • Quality assurance: With our own prototype production, complete testing capabilities, and failure analysis tools, we stand for products of the highest quality on a long-term basis.

Are you interested in our extensive range of reliable, high-performance optical sensors? Contact our specialists with your requirements!


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Company
First Sensor is one of the world's leading suppliers in the field of sensor systems. In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific solutions for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. Our goal here is to identify, meet and solve the challenges of the future with our innovative sensor solutions early on.
Investor Relations
Our investor relations activities aim at raising the international publicity of First Sensor AG and at consolidating and extending the perception of our share as an attractive growth stock. This means we keep our online communication transparent, comprehensive and continuous in order to enhance your trust in our share.
Tailored Solutions
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Competencies
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Career
Innovation, excellence, proximity – these are our values, our ambition, our drive. Anything less is not an option. Our sensor solutions stand for technical innovation and economic growth. As such, they form the basis for the development and application of new technologies in almost all areas of life. We aim to shape this future together with you.

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