AMS buys Cambridge sensor startup

June 16, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Analog and mixed-signal sensor company AMS AG (Premstaetten, Austria) has agreed to buy startup Cambridge CMOS Sensor Ltd. (Cambridge, England) for an undisclosed amount said to be multi-millions of dollars.

Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd. was set up in 2008 as a spin off from Cambridge University to form a hot plate metal oxide (MOX) sensor that reacts with various gas molecules. Despite the use of heaters the technology is claimed to have low power consumption and fast response time.

AMS has been acquiring a number of companies in recent quarters (see AMS buys environmental sensor business from NXP and AMS set to buy German gas sensor firm ) and said in statement that the acquisition of Cambridge CMOS Sensors makes it the world and technology leader in gas and infrared sensing for automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications.

Because Cambridge CMOS gets its sensors made on CMOS wafers it also allos monolithic integration with other MEMS and sensor technologies and even local analog and digital signal processing. AMS pointed out the ability to integrate additional sensors such as relative humidity, temperature, and pressure to produce a more complete environmental sensing system.

Cambridge CMOS Sensors has 33 employees and was expected to conduct another venture capital round in 2016. Venture capitalist and engineer Robert Swann was appointed as chairman of the company in December 2015 and he brought with him experience of selling a previous startup he co-founded – Alphanumeric – to Broadcom Corp. for about $123 million in 2004.

AMS said it plans to integrate the Cambridge activities into its existing environmental sensor business, which has development locations in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and Reutlingen, Germany.

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