Melexis announces two advanced sensor technologies for next-generation temperature measurement

Infrared Sensor Array - Melexis

Infrared (IR) sensor array offers alternative to high-end thermal cameras; quad thermocouple interface addresses automotive sensing to 1,300 °C.

Electronica 2016, Munich, 8 November 2016 - Melexis, the global microelectronics company enabling future innovation through a philosophy of inspired engineering, has announced two new sensing technologies for simplified integration of temperature measurement into applications that enhance safety, efficiency and convenience.

Combining high resolution and the ability to operate reliably in harsh environments, the MLX90640 infrared (IR) sensor array offers a cost-effective alternative to more expensive high-end thermal cameras. This 32 x 24 pixel device is suited to safety and convenience applications that include fire prevention systems, smart buildings, intelligent lighting, IP/surveillance cameras, HVAC equipment and vehicle seat occupancy detection. It has a -40 °C to 85 °C operational temperature range and can measure object temperatures between -40 °C and 300 °C. Maintaining high levels of precision across its full measurement scale, this cost effective device delivers a typical target object temperature accuracy of ±1 °C. It also exhibits superior noise performance, with a noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) of just 0.1 K RMS at a 1 Hz refresh rate. Unlike microbolometer alternatives, the sensor does not need frequent re-calibration, thus ensuring continuous monitoring and lowering system cost. Field-of-View (FoV) options comprise the standard 55° x 35° version and a 110° x 75° wide-angle version. The MLX90640 is supplied in a compact, 4-pin TO39 package incorporating the requisite optics. An I²C-compatible digital interface simplifies integration.

The MLX90342, simultaneously being announced by Melexis, is an innovative, high-performance quadruple thermocouple interface that provides rapid response and very high levels of accuracy when measuring extreme temperatures. It has been specifically designed to allow automotive designers to address the need for more stringent engine and exhaust thermal management and control. This need is being driven by the higher temperatures associated with new, smaller, more efficient engine designs. Target applications include turbo charger temperature control, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), selective catalytic reduction (SCR), diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and diesel/gasoline particle filtering systems. Drawing on nearly three decades of automotive engineering experience, the MLX90342 supports a -40 °C to 1,300 °C thermocouple temperature range and has an operating temperature specification spanning -40 °C to 155 °C. Sophisticated on-board cold junction compensation and linearization, plus factory calibration, guarantee an intrinsic accuracy of ±5 °C (at 1,100 °C). This effectively means the sensor is twice as accurate as other currently available devices. The sensor interface is housed in a miniature, 26-pin 6 mm x 4 mm QFN package and has a rapid refresh rate of 50 Hz that aligns with manufacturer expectations for high-speed response. Temperature data can be transmitted via a SENT Revision 3 digital interface, while extensive diagnostic capabilities monitor the health of the sensor and interface, identifying operational problems without the need for additional components. As a result, signal path integrity of data between the sensor and the engine management software is completely assured. Comprehensive integrated fault detection mechanisms also help sensor designs to conform to the latest vehicle exhaust regulations.

"As well as reinforcing our leadership position in temperature sensing, these two new devices provide further evidence of how inspired engineering can deliver real-world benefits to future applications that support safety, comfort and efficiency," said Damien Macq, Sensor Business Unit Manager at Melexis. "As these new technologies illustrate, we have solutions that can address the broadest possible range of temperature sensing requirements, from the demanding performance and reliability needs of harsh, high-temperature automotive environments to the challenges associated with applications that require high-performance, high-quality sensing at competitive price points."