Cambridge CMOS Sensors makes first sales


27-08-2010

University of Cambridge spin-out Cambridge CMOS Sensors has made the first sales of its innovative gas-sensing microsystems to two leading international sensor companies.

The sales are a milestone for the Cambridge-based company, which was founded in 2009, developed out of research from the University’s Department of Engineering.

Additionally, the company has also recently signed an agreement with a UK-based sensor manufacturer to develop gas sensors using Cambridge CMOS Sensors’ technology.

Gas-sensing technology currently has a wide range of residential, commercial and academic applications, including domestic gas detectors, industrial safety, explosive detection, medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.

Cambridge CMOS Sensors has patented microsytems technology that involves new types of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) heaters for application in microsensors.

By using CMOS technology, which is used in microprocessors and other digital logic circuits, gas sensors can be developed based on a miniature heating element (micro-hotplate) design with smart drive and accurate temperature control. This will show gas sensors to be produced in higher volume and at lower cost than current state of the art products.

The devices can be heated from room temperature to 700°C in a fraction of a second and have the ultra-low power consumption suitable for battery operated devices.

“We are delighted to see our technology get to market,” says Professor Florin Udrea, one of the company’s founders. “CMOS micro-hotplate technology has a huge potential market, from the automotive industry to medical applications, and we look forward to the company’s continued growth.”

Cambridge CMOS Sensors was founded by Professor Udrea, who is also a co-founder of CamSemi; Professor Julian Gardner, Professor of Electronic Engineering at the University of Warwick; and Professor Bill Milne, head of the Electrical Engineering Division at Cambridge and Director of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE). The three academics have worked together for 15 years and have a successful record of transferring research to industry. The company has received seed funding from Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation office.

Cambridge Enterprise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations. Cambridge Enterprise provides access to angel and early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring, and other related programmes. Over the past two years, income from licensing, consultancy and equity transactions exceeded £18 million, of which £14 million represents distributions to University departments and academics.

Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds is part of Cambridge Enterprise Limited and provides funding for early stage businesses that have been founded by members of the University of Cambridge. A new fund, The University of Cambridge Discovery Fund, was launched in September 2008. This fund, together with the original University Challenge Fund and the University Venture Fund, are evergreen and equity realisations will continue to fund new businesses which will have economic and societal impact.

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Sarah Collins
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email: sarah.collins@enterprise.cam.ac.uk
 

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