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Japan firm creates embeddable, ultra-compact silicon CMOS based smell sensor

Aroma Bit to develop smartphone sensor that has dog nose equivalent resolution in 1mm squared die size


Aroma Bit Silicon Sensor Technology Inc., Tokyo Japan, launched a new subsidiary earlier this year to develop the next generation smell sensor based on silicon CMOS sensor substrate that are ultra-compact, high resolution and low cost. The technology is realized by applying the firm’s smell sensor receptor membrane technology to ultra-sensitive silicon CMOS based ion imaging sensor technology – developed by professor Kazuaki Sawada at Toyohashi University of Technology and associated companies. 

Realizing smartphone embeddable smell sensor with dog nose equivalent ultra-high resolution smell sensor on only 1 millimeter square silicon die size, Aroma Bit has developed and is currently selling a compact smell sensor that employs QCM or Quartz Crystal Microbalance type sensor substrate, which demonstrates ultra-high sensitivity in the sensor market. However, further size reduction, cost reduction to meet high volume application market, such as smartphone, was challenging with conventional QCM type smell sensor.

With the newly developed silicon CMOS type smell sensor, ultra-compact, high smell resolution and low cost can be realized, to be embedded to system such as smartphone or IoT devices. For instance, it is expected that resolution equivalent to dog nose’s resolution (roughly 1,200 receptors) within 1mm die size can be achieved using the new type of sensor substrate.

With new addition of sensor substrate technology, Aroma Bit now holds two types of sensor substrate technology line up: Conventional and yet ultra-high sensitivity QCM type sensor substrate technology, and ultra-high resolution, ultra-compact, low cost silicon CMOS type sensor substrate technology. Combined, highly competitive sensor technology portfolio is realized in two key performance for smell sensor, namely, sensor sensitivity and smell resolution. As a result, the addition of the new sensor is expected to further enhances Aroma Bit’s technology competitive advantage against its competitors in the compact smell sensor space.

With the new developed silicon CMOS type smell sensor, ultra-compact, low-cost, high smell resolution smeller, embeddable to smartphone or IoT devices can be realized.

Aroma Bit is currently also accelerating its development of digital smell database or smell big-data based on its hardware competitive advantage. Sensor hardware and smell database together, Aroma Bit is committed to retain its top-position in growing digital olfactory market, thereby realizing Aroma Bit’s vision “to realize a better world by visualizing the world of smell/aroma through odor imaging technology.”