OKI Commercializes Ultraviolet Sensor IC

Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:6703) announced it has commercialized an ultraviolet (UV) sensor IC that has an analog voltage output and does not require an optical cut filter. Samples of the ML 8511 will be available from June for use in portable UV meters.

“We are pleased to introduce the ML8511, which is the world’s first UV sensor IC using thin-film SOI. OKI has been researching thin-film SOI-based UV sensor ICs with high accuracy and that are easy to embed into mobile devices,” said Takaki Yamada, President of Silicon Micro Device Company at Oki Electric Industry.

Demands for UV sensors are increasing, particularly for use in portable devices as interest in health has been rising. Conventional UV sensors use compound semiconductors such as gallium nitride, making it difficult to mount peripheral circuits on a single chip. In addition, because silicon-based UV sensors require an optical wavelength cut filter, problems such as piece-to-piece variation in sensor characteristics and decline in sensitivity can occur.

By adding a built-in operational amplifier, OKI’s ML8511 enables the analog voltage output function on a single chip. The optical cut filter can also be eliminated, enabling manufacturers to develop small and high mobility UV devices at a low cost. In addition, because OKI’s UV sensor IC uses SOI-CMOS(1) technology, which enables easy integration, it is well-suited to usage in mounting digital and analog circuits.

Yamada added, “Leveraging the feature of mounting digital or analog circuits, OKI will enhance its product lineup with digital output circuits that connects to micro controllers and combining ambient light sensor(2) into a single chip. OKI will provide this configuration for a wide range of applications, including accessory type devices to measure the amount of UV in daylight, check UV exposure, and also for home and mobile appliances.”

(1) SOI-CMOS technology
This is a technology to develop CMOS on insulator. It uses an SOI substrate with an embedded Insulator instead of a conventional silicon substrate. This enables lower voltage operation and decreases the effect of leak current temperature, which is attractive for low voltage, low current and low leakage operation.

(2) ambient light sensor
This is a sensor that can change the current output according to the surrounding brightness. It can be connected directly to a A/D converter because it can output the amount of current to voltage.

About Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.
Founded in 1881, Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. is Japan’s first telecommunications manufacturer, with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. OKI provides top-quality products, technologies and solutions to its customers through its info-telecom system business, semiconductor business and printer business. All three businesses function as a collective force to create exciting new products and technologies that satisfy a spectrum of customer needs in various markets.