New Multi-Channel Spectral Sensor to Provide Mobile Color & Light Measurement Capabilities

Posted Jan 10, 2019 by ams AG

ams AG has introduced a miniature spectral sensor chip, the AS7341 that brings laboratory-grade multi-channel color analysis capability to portable and mobile devices. In end products such as mobile phones or accessories, it produces more precise spectral measurements in a wider range of lighting conditions than competing sensors. The new sensor’s small dimensions also mean that it is easier to accommodate it in mobile phones and other portable devices.

According to ams, the sensor marks a breakthrough in the category of spectral sensors in a small package suitable for mounting in a mobile phone or consumer device. It is the smallest such device to offer 11 measurement channels, and also offers higher light sensitivity than any other multi-channel spectral sensor aimed at the consumer market.

Consumer benefits of the AS7341 include improved performance in mobile phone cameras, as the chip’s accurate spectral measurements enable superior automatic white balancing, more reliable light source identification and integrated flicker detection. The technology will more accurately reproduce colors and minimize distortion of ambient light sources, resulting in sharper, clearer and more true-to-color photographs. The new sensor also will enable consumers to use their mobile devices to match the colors of objects such as fabrics through using color references like the PANTONE Color System.

The power of the AS7341 to upgrade color measurement performance is demonstrated by the introduction of the Spectro 1 portable colorimeter from Variable. In the Spectro 1, Variable has used the AS7341 to provide professional color measurement for solid colors at a consumer price point. The product provides highly repeatable spectral curve data in 10nm increments across the visible light spectrum from 400nm to 700nm – a capability previously only available in professional spectrophotometers costing more than ten times as much as the portable Spectro 1.

According to Variable, no other spectral sensor IC comes close to offering the multi-channel capability of the AS7341 from ams in such a compact chip package. The small size is a crucial benefit – integration with a mobile phone app is one of the key features of Spectro 1, and they have designed the product to be small enough to hold easily in one hand. And the multi-channel spectral measurements provided by the AS7341 mean that users of Spectro 1 will never be misled by false matching of metameric pairs.

The AS7341 is a complete spectral sensing system housed in a tiny 3.1mm x 2.0mm x 1.0mm LGA package with aperture. It is an 11-channel device which provides extremely accurate and precise characterizations of the spectral content of a directly measured light source, or of a reflective surface. Eight of the channels cover eight equally spaced portions of the visible light spectrum. The device also features a near infrared channel, a clear channel, and a channel dedicated to the detection of typical ambient light flicker at a frequency of 50 Hz upto 1 kHz.

Beside camera image optimization, the AS7341 spectral sensor also supports various applications, such general color measurement of materials or fluids, skin tone measurement, and others. ams is currently demonstrating the new sensor at CES 2019 in Las Vegas for sampling. Mass production starts in February with unit pricing of $2.00 in an order quantity of 10,000 units. An evaluation board is also available.