Vishay proximity and ambient light optical sensor enables power-saving interrupt function

March 07, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Vishay Intertechnology broadens its optoelectronics portfolio with the introduction of a fully integrated proximity and ambient light optical sensor featuring a power-saving interrupt function. The VCNL4010 combines an infrared emitter and photo-pin-diode for proximity, ambient light detector, signal processing IC, and a 16-bit ADC in one small 3.95 mm x 3.95 mm x 0.75 mm leadless (LLP), surface-mount package. The space-saving device supports an easy-to-use I2C bus communication interface and greatly simplifies window and sensor design in a wide variety of consumer and industrial applications.

The VCNL4010's interrupt function enables the sensor to work independently until a predefined proximity or ambient light event occurs, and then it wakes up the microcontroller. This helps customers reduce their software effort, and lower power consumption by eliminating polling communication traffic between the sensor and microcontroller. 

For mobile devices such as smartphones, touch phones, PDAs, GPS units, and digital cameras, in addition to computing and industrial devices and displays, the new VCNL4010 saves power as a proximity sensor for touchscreen locking, and serves as an integrated ambient light function for display/keypad contrast control and dimming. Containing all the circuitry needed for these applications in one device, the VCNL4010 eliminates the need for mechanical light barriers and optical alignment of the IR emitter and photo diode. 

The sensor's 16-bit effective resolution for proximity detection ensures excellent cross talk immunity. While other products only achieve object detection up to 100 mm, the VCNL4010's programmable LED drive current from 10 mA to 200 mA (in 10 mA steps) allows distances up to 200 mm. The device offers excellent ambient light suppression by modulating the infrared emitter signal.

The VCNL4010's built-in ambient light photo-pin-diode offers sensitivity close to that of the human eye, with a 16-bit dynamic range for ambient light detection from 0.25 lux to 16 klux. The sensor offers 100 Hz and 120 Hz flicker noise rejection.

Featuring low stand-by current consumption of 1.5 µA, the device offers a supply voltage range of 2.5 V to 3.6 V and I2C bus voltage range from 1.7 V to 5 V. The sensor provides a Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) of 3 and operates over a temperature range of -25 °C to + 85 °C. The VCNL4010 is compliant to RoHS directive 2002/95/EC and WEEE 2002/96/EC, free of halogens, and compatible with lead (Pb)-free soldering.

Samples and production quantities of the new VCNL4010 are available now, with a lead time of eight weeks for