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CMOS Sensors Limited

Cambridge CMOS Sensors Limited (CCMOS) has been launched with initial funding from Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds. The company is a spin-out from the Electrical Division of the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering and has in-licensed technology from the University of Warwick.

CCMOS’s sensors technology is a significant improvement on existing portable instrument products which use gas sensing elements and have high energy consumption, low gas sensitivity and a higher price per manufactured unit. Dr Nick Slaymaker, Investment Manager at Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, said: “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 which is fully compatible with CMOS. By using this technology gas sensors can be miniaturised, produced at higher volume, cheaper and retain good thermal behaviour. I am especially pleased that one of the founders, Dr Florin Udrea is also a co-founder of CamSemi, one of our most successful investments, and has come back for investment in a brand new spin out”.

There are many applications for the technology. For example, the constant and accurate monitoring of airplane’s cabin air quality, especially on long haul flights is challenging. The airline industry wants to continue improving passenger’s flight experience. CCMOS’s sensors can test, at a very accurate level, for carbon monoxide which is colourless, odourless and very toxic.

The academic founders, Dr Florin Udrea, Professor Julian Gardner and Professor Bill Milne have worked together for 15 years and have a very successful record of transferring research to industry. They have carried out collaborative R&D projects in the area of microsensors and nanotechnology with many companies and have previous start-up company experience.

Julian Gardner said: "We are very excited about the potential of Cambridge CMOS micro-hotplate technology. Our devices can heat up from room temperature to 700 degrees Celsius in just a few milliseconds and have ultra low power consumption suitable for battery operated devices. We envisage numerous applications of our micro-hotplates (with integrated circuitry/readout) ranging from chemical micro-sensors (e.g. toxic gases) to physical sensors (e.g. infra-red cameras). The technology is ideal for high volume and low unit cost products and will help drive forward the emerging field of ubiquitous sensing."