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Cambridge sensor company using University of Warwick generated IP acquired by ams

ams AG, a leading worldwide manufacturer of high performance sensor and analog solutions, has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares in Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd (CCMOSS), a spin-off company from Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering and including intellectual property licensed in from the University of Warwick.

CCMOSS was born from a collaboration between Cambridge founders Professor Florin Udrea and Professor Bill Milne and Warwick’s Professor Julian Gardner, with the start of technology development dating back to 1994. CCMOSS has built an outstanding expertise in micro hotplate design and manufacturing for gas and infrared sensing over more than 20 years. Warwick Ventures, the research commercialisation arm of the University of Warwick, facilitated the transfer of Warwick IP into the company.

Professor Gardner, who was Chief Scientific Officer at CCMOSS, said: "Working with ams is a fantastic opportunity that will enable the CCMOSS technology in gas and infra-red sensing to become truly global."

Professor Gardner is Head of the Microsensors & Bioelectronics Research Laboratory (formerly Sensors Research Laboratory) and Leader of the Electrical & Electronic Engineering Stream in the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick. His research interests are microsensors, microsystems technology, electronic noses, intelligent sensors and multivariate data processing methods. He has published over 500 technical papers and is an author of eight books and 20 patents. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006 and won the IET JJ Thompson Medal for Achievements in Electronics in 2007. In the last five years he has won several national innovation awards with Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd as first Technical Director and then more recently Chief Scientist.

CCMOSS’ micro hotplates are used in gas sensors for volume applications in the automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer markets. The company’s deep expertise in this area is highly synergetic with ams’ technology leadership in metal oxide gas sensing materials to detect gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds. CCMOSS’ manufactures micro-electromechanical structures on wafers allowing the creation of complete monolithically integrated sensors. This makes CCMOSS’ solutions highly cost-efficient, as well as providing significant advantages over competing technologies including low power consumption, small footprint and the ability to integrate additional sensor modalities such as relative humidity, temperature, and pressure.

In addition, CCMOSS commands an industry-leading portfolio of infrared technology comprising high performance IR radiation sources and detectors for sensor applications. Highly complementary to ams’ spectral sensing strategy for next generation optical sensor technologies, CCMOSS’ IR sensing is based on the same monolithic complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) structures as for gas sensing, enabling miniaturized implementations and efficient integration with other on-chip functions. Applications include CO2 gas sensing and human presence detection and will extend into spectroscopic identification of organic materials.

Alexander Everke, CEO of ams, commented on the transaction, “The addition of CCMOSS makes ams the clear leader in gas and infrared sensor technology worldwide, and completes ams’ portfolio of products and technologies for the environmental sensor market. This highly strategic acquisition is therefore another key step in making ams the world’s leading provider of sensor solutions for consumer, automotive, industrial, and medical applications.”

for further information please contact:

Professor Julian Gardner, Professor of Electronic Engineering
School of Engineering, University of Warwick
Tel: +44(0)24 7652 3695

PR501 23rd June 2016