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Emberion raises €6m for SWIR nanomaterial imager production

Finnish firm, Emberion, has raised €6 million to expand the manufacturing capacity of its shortwave infrared imagers based on nanomaterials.

The funding round was from Nidoco, Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment) and Verso Capital.

Emberion offers visible-to-shortwave-infrared sensors and cameras capable of imaging from 400nm to 2,000nm.

The photodetectors are built by integrating nanomaterials, such as colloidal quantum dots and graphene, on top of a CMOS readout circuit. Tuning the nanomaterials extends the sensitivity of the sensor out into the shortwave infrared.

The firm has just launched its VS20 VIS-SWIR camera based on the technology, which it will show at Photonics West in San Francisco later this month.

'We are disrupting multiple imaging markets by extending the wavelength range at a significantly more affordable cost,' Jyrki Rosenberg, CEO of Emberion, commented.

'Our revolutionary sensor is designed to meet the needs of even the most challenging machine vision applications, such as plastic sorting,' he continued. 'We look forward to helping customers access new information at infrared wavelengths, thereby critically enhancing their applications beyond today’s capabilities.'

There have been great strides made in nanomaterial, or quantum dot, SWIR sensors recently, such that they are now a viable alternative to the more costly InGaAs sensors for some applications.

The ecosystem of providers of quantum dot SWIR sensors is also growing. STMicroelectronics presented a quantum dot SWIR sensor, with a 1.62µm pixel pitch and QE of 60 per cent, at the International Electronic Devices Meeting late last year. SWIR Vision Systems raised $5 million last year to grow its quantum dot shortwave infrared sensor business.

Emberion's VS20 camera is a VGA device with a 20µm pixel pitch, operating at 100fps and 120dB dynamic range.

Rosenberg said that the firm plans to use the funding to increase its production capacity, along with efforts to develop mid-wave infrared and other broadband solutions.

Emberion is headquartered in Espoo, Finland, but has its sensor development and fabrication centre in Cambridge, UK.


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