ams AG (SIX: AMS), a leading worldwide manufacturer of high performance sensor and analog solutions, has acquired 100% of the shares in Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd (CCS), the technology leader in micro hotplate structures for gas sensing and infrared applications, in an all-cash transaction.
Founded in 2008 as a spin-off from Cambridge University, with the start of technology development dating back to 1994 in collaboration with the University of Warwick, CCS has built an outstanding expertise in micro hotplate design and manufacturing for gas and infrared sensing over more than 20 years. Parkwalk and Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, have supported CCS throughout its development.

CCS’ micro hotplates are MEMS structures that are used in gas sensors for volume applications in the automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer markets. The company’s deep expertise in this area is highly synergetic with ams’ technology leadership in MOX gas sensing materials to detect gases like CO, NOx, and VOCs. CCS manufactures these MEMS structures on CMOS wafers allowing the creation of complete monolithically integrated CMOS sensor ICs. This makes CCS’ solutions highly cost-efficient, besides offering other significant advantages over competing technologies like low power consumption, small footprint and the ability to integrate additional sensor modalities like relative humidity, temperature, and pressure.

“The addition of CCS makes ams the clear leader in gas and infrared sensor technology worldwide, and completes ams’ portfolio of products and technologies for the environmental sensor market.”

Alexander Everke

In addition, CCS commands an industry-leading portfolio of IR technology comprising high performance IR radiation sources and detectors for sensor applications. Highly complementary to ams’ spectral sensing strategy for next generation optical sensor technologies, CCS’ IR sensing is based on the same monolithic CMOS structures as for gas sensing, enabling miniaturised implementations and efficient integration with other on-chip functions. Applications include CO2 gas sensing and human presence detection and will extend into spectroscopic identification of organic materials.

CCS’ corporate headquarters are located in Cambridge, UK, and the company has 33 employees. The Cambridge region has become a centre of innovation for sensor technologies globally so ams values the ability to gain direct access to this attractive ecosystem going forward.

The parties to the transaction have agreed to keep the consideration confidential. ams plans to fully integrate CCS’ activities into its existing environmental sensor business, which has development locations in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and Reutlingen, Germany.