PANORAMA Synergy says it has proven the viability of its laser-based Optical MEMS reader technology.
The Optical Readout System, dubbed the LumiMEMS Reader, was developed by Panorama in partnership with the University of Western Sydney. The patented optical reader for MEMS enables the detection and measurement of previously undetectable substances.
As a result, Panorama Synergy has started developing the first generation systems for potential new end market applications.
MEMS are sensitive measuring systems smaller than the width of a human hair. They are able to measure acceleration, gravity, chemicals, the indicators of disease or the presence of explosives.
In order to assess and communicated the data that is measured, all MEMS devices need a readout system. Standard electronic MEMS readers are subject to interference from electrical ‘noise’ from nearby devices and the environment. A more sensitive and accurate alternative technology is an optical system which uses a laser directed at a MEMS sensor.
However, the technology is currently very big, and sensitive to vibration due to the need to precisely align the laser with the tip of the MEMS sensor. This means laser-based optical readers for MEMS are restricted to use in the lab.
Panorama's LumiMEMS Reader is a portable, robust and autonomous readout system which combines the accuracy and sensitivity of the optical reader with the size and portability of the electrically based system.
It is also robust against interference from noise and vibration, allowing its use in harsh environments such as down a drill hole or inside the cylinder shaft of a car engine, especially since it is more heat resistant than an electrical system.
LumiMEMS Reader is able to operate in air, water and other fluids or in a vacuum, therefore can be applied to bed side patient care, the detection of lung cancer, detecting peanuts in food, dangerous gases and other substances in mines, carbon monoxide inside a car or even schizophrenia from someone’s perspiration.
In addition, a chip that has several hundred MEMS sensors can be read simultaneously by one LumiMEMS Reader.
The company will use well-known proven techniques to integrate the optical reader into silicon.
The MEMS market is estimated to be $14 billion in 2014, growing to over $22 billion by 2018, a CAGR of 13 percent per annum, and is expected to be a core component of the Internet of Things trend.
Panorama says LumiMEMS can become the new industry standard as the MEMS market continues to develop. With the move from electrical to optical in the telecommunications world, the company anticipates the LumiMEMS Reader to become the de-facto readout system for the rapidly growing MEMS market.
Panorama anticipates that one of its initial first generation systems will be used in the mining sector, targeting improved exploration outcomes and safety. These systems are being developed in a prototype format with a view to being licenced or manufactured as end products. Test results are likely to be published as soon as the fourth quarter of the 2014 calendar year.