Pyroelectric MEMS Infrared Sensor with Numerous Wavelength Absorptions

Tech ID: 23723 / UC Case 2013-051-0

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,335,217 05/10/2016 2013-051
Japan Published Application WO 2015/017703 02/05/2015 2013-051

Brief Description

In recent years, gas sensors for industrial applications have experienced great advances through rapid evolution of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). As a result of increased government legislative pressure on industrial health and safety, commercial customers are demanding integrated smart sensor technology and systems which leverage MEMS for small footprint, low cost, and high-performance features. Market researchers suggest double-digit compound annual growth rates for MEMS sensors through 2018, with the fastest growth is expected in the semiconductor sensor base. Traditional infrared gas analyzers determine the absorption of an emitted infrared light source through a certain air sample. Nondispersive infrared technology (NDIR) detects certain gas by detecting the absorption of infrared wavelengths that is characteristic of that gas. NDIR detectors are the industry standard method of measuring the concentration of carbon oxides. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Davis have successfully demonstrated pyroelectric infrared detectors that exhibit high sensitivity and reliable performance for advanced gas analyses. The MEMS technology is well suited for constant monitoring in harsh environments where long term stability is important, such as petroleum, medical, and industrial monitoring settings.

Suggested uses

  • Nondispersive infrared sensing
  • Indoor CO2 monitoring
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Breath analyzers
  • Greenhouse gas monitoring
  • Freon detection
  • Flame analysis
  • Thermal detection devices


  • 20% less in volume and 50% less in thickness than current designs
  • High sensitivity and reliable performance in extreme environments
  • Leverages industry standard platforms and low-cost parts 

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Other Information


pyroelectric, MEMS, microelectromechanical, NDIR, gas, sensor, detector, carbon oxides, CO, CO2, thermopile, bolometers, nondispersive infrared

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