ams Launches Ultra-Sensitive NIR Image Sensor Promising Power Savings in Mobile 3D Optical Sensing Systems

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

January 14, 2020


The CGSS130 sensor from ams is, according to the company, four times more sensitive to NIR wavelengths than most other image sensor on the market today.

ams, a supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, introduces the CMOS Global Shutter Sensor (CGSS) Near Infrared (NIR) image sensor CGSS130, complementing ams’ 3D system. The CGSS130 enables 3D optical sensing applications such as face recognition, payment authentication and more to operate at lower power than alternative implementations. According to the company, this means that battery-powered devices can run longer between charges, a key differentiator for OEMs, while supporting more sophisticated sensor functions.

The CGSS130 sensor from ams is, according to the company, four times more sensitive to NIR wavelengths than most other image sensor on the market today, reliably detecting reflections from very low-power IR emitters in 3D sensing systems. Since the IR emitter consumes most of the power in face recognition and other 3D sensing applications, the use of the CGSS130 sensor will enable manufacturers to extend battery run-time in mobile devices. The sensor also creates the opportunity to implement face recognition in wearable devices and in other products which are powered by a small battery, or to enable a new range of applications beyond face recognition as the increased sensitivity extends the measurement range for the same power budget.

Stephane Curral, EVP and GM at ams’ ISS division, says: “Following the announcement of ams’ partnership with SmartSens Technology earlier this year, we are delighted to announce the first 3D Active Stereo Vision (ASV) reference design based on the CGSS130 voltage-based NIR enhanced global shutter image sensor. The 1.3MP stacked BSI sensor offers the highest Quantum Efficiency at 940nm, ideally suited for battery-powered devices.”

Extending ams’ product portfolio for 3D sensing

Development of the CGSS130 has been accelerated by ams’ partnership with SmartSens Technology, a global supplier of high-performance CMOS image sensors. 

ams’ approach is to broaden its portfolio in all three 3D sensing technologies, Active Stereo Vision (ASV), Time-of-Flight (ToF), and Structured Light (SL).

The introduction of NIR image sensors complements ams’ existing offerings for mobile 3D sensing: 

  • NIR VCSEL emitters, including the PMSIL range of flood emitters, for example for ToF, and the Belago range of dot pattern projectors for SL or ASV
  • Face detection and face matching software 
  • Reference designs which enable faster time-to-market for OEMs with systems offering high performance depth maps for payment, face recognition and AR/VR applications at a competitive total system cost

Advanced technology for higher performance

The CGSS130 sensor has a high quantum efficiency at the NIR wavelengths, up to 40% at 940nm, and up to 58% at 850nm. Thanks to the stacked BSI process used to fabricate the CGSS global shutter image sensors, they offer a very small footprint where the footprint of the CGSS130’s die is just 3.8mm x 4.2mm and the GS pixel size is 2.7um.

The sensor produces monochrome images with an effective pixel array of 1080H × 1280V at a maximum frame rate of 120 frames/s. This high frame rate and global shutter operation produce clean images free of blur or other motion artefacts. 

The sensor also offers a high dynamic range (HDR) mode in which it achieves dynamic range of more than 100dB. It also implements advanced functions such as external triggering, windowing, and horizontal or vertical mirroring. 

The CGSS130 is available for sampling. For sample requests or more technical information, go to

Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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