A Sensata Technologies company

Sensor Interface ASIC Design

Sensor Interface ASIC Design

Sensors are pervasive and form part of our daily lives and the use of mixed signal ASICs to provide an optimised interface is becoming more prevalent in industrial and automotive applications. Sensor interfaces where signal conversion of sensor data occurs and the analysis, control and transmission of it is controlled, is where the SWINDON expertise comes to the fore. SWINDON provides a full turnkey (FTK) solution for the design and supply of custom sensor interface ASICs developed specifically for our customer’s requirements. Our experience spans both the industrial and automotive markets and the vast majority of sensor types and applications.

A Typical SWINDON Sensor Interface

A typical sensor interface circuit is shown opposite. Dependent on the type of sensor, the output is predominantly analogue and its amplitude can be extremely small. This presents challenges in noise and sensitivity and careful design is required to achieve the specified performance. There are also other factors that can affect the linearity of the sensor such as temperature for example, so a requirement to measure and compensate for such variances may be a system requirement, and one that SWINDON has vast experience in conducting. Many sensors do not have a mains power supply available and so specific attention must be paid to careful power budgeting in the design in order to optimise the battery life of your system. SWINDON has designed many different sensor interfaces, many battery powered, for various applications and with an emphasis on maximising performance but with an optimised cost, size and power budget.

Sensor Interfaces - a typical design

Acoustic Sensor Interface

Everyone is familiar with microphones and speakers, but today these sensors can take many different forms and can measure things such as wave (amplitude, phase, and polarisation), wave velocity and spectrum. These characteristics are used in many different applications and in this case SWINDON partnered with a leading headset manufacturer to provide a state of the art noise cancelling solution for an industrial headset, which is used in many spheres of operation including Formula One (F1) motor racing.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Optical Sensor Interface

Optical sensors are used extensively today, (e.g. optical mouse), especially as semiconductor technology has several characteristics that lends itself to this type of sensor. With today’s modern packaging techniques it is common to find both emitter and detector within the same package. They work on principles such as refractive index, reflectivity and absorption. SWINDON partnered with a smoke detector manufacturer to provide a robust smoke detector that was capable of detecting low levels of smoke in all the different environmental conditions.

Optical Smoke Detector

Inductive Sensor Interface

This type of sensor is particular useful where the application requires no physical contact or in a dirty environment, as the sensing element is relatively unaffected by dirt. Common applications of inductive sensors include proximity detectors, metal detectors, traffic lights, car washes, automated industrial processes, etc. SWINDON partnered with an industrial sensor manufacturer to provide an accurate positional sensor for industrial applications.

Accurate Positional Sensor

Magnetic Sensor Interface

Magnetic sensors use Hall Effect and magneto resisitive and magneto restrictive techniques and they measure the strength of the magnetic field to provide location information. They are commonly used in applications such as factory automation and lighting. SWINDON partnered with a global automation equipment manufacturer to provide an accurate positional encoder for factory automation applications.

Encoder ASIC

Resistive Sensor Interface

This type of sensor is becoming very common throughout automotive and industrial applications. The resistive element is formed as part of a Wheatstone Bridge and changes in the relative values are detected. These structures can be formed as MEMS devices which allows for efficient integration with an ASIC die in a single package (SiP). SWINDON partnered with Schrader Electronics to provide an accurate pressure sensor for Tyre Pressure Monitoring applications.


Capacitive Sensor Interface

By measuring and detecting changes in capacitance it is possible to determine position. These can be useful for proximity detection of non-metallic items as they do not rely on conductance. SWINDON partnered with an industrial touch screen manufacturer to provide an accurate positional touch screen ASIC for industrial applications.

Touch Screen ASIC

How we can help you

By partnering with SWINDON you will be receiving best in class ASIC design and supply services that will enable you to become a market leader. Utilising our experience of over 350 projects, we will deliver a solution that will give you the competitive edge, both technically and commercially.

SWINDON has in house high volume wafer probe and packaged device test facilities along with the ability to calibrate your ASIC / MEMS at test. SWINDON’s full turnkey ASIC solutions will provide you higher performance, smaller size and lower costs.

Contact SWINDON today to discover how we can help you succeed.

SWINDON Silicon Systems Limited

+44 (0) 1793 649400

Registered Office:
Interface House
Interface Business Park
Bincknoll Lane
Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire, SN4 8SY, England

Registered in England and Wales
Registration Number: 01378199