Tri-Stimulus XYZ Sensor from ams Offers Near Human Eye Color Sensing for Consumer Applications

ams TCS3430 color sensor block diagram

The TCS3430 sensor from ams provides break-through optical filtering functionality that produces measurements of illuminance and CCT which closely match that of the human eye.

Though it’s was released back in July, the new ams TCS3430 true color sensor IC is getting a lot of press. This sensor provides digital measurements of illuminance (brightness) and chromaticity (color) that meet the CIE 1931 “Standard Observer” XYZ scaling. CIE 1931 is the industry standard which quantifies a human’s perception of light and is our best benchmark for “true color” from a human’s perception. Because of this break-through functionality in a miniature package, this sense IC applies to a variety of consumer products such as cell phones, tablets, and the like. The functionality enables these devices to provide better display management, automatic white color balancing, and color management.

The folks at ams boasts that OEMs will be able to change out existing RGB sensors to the TCS3430 color sensor to improve camera and display performance, enabling mobile phone users to enjoy:

  1. Improved adaptation of LCD color and brightness toward warm or cool white based on ambient conditions.
  2. Better display calibration to offer improved color balancing and crisp images based on the input.
  3. Near zero color distortion from the camera, offering users the same performance of professional-grade photography equipment.

From a technology perspective, the TCS3430 is fabricated based on proprietary IP for interferometric optical filters directly on a silicon wafer. These interferometric filters are made with special features of the XYZ spectral responsivity model of a human eye. The filters have five channels: X, Y, and Z along with two infrared channels. The infrared channels are used for light source detection. The Y channel’s responsiveness to the green portion of the visible light spectrum gives a measure of illuminance. This gives the TSC3430 the ability to operate as an ALS and a color sensor.

Aside from the specs, the color sensor is packed in a tiny 2.41mm x 1.75mm x 1.00mm footprint. The sensor does need an achromatic diffuser and is usually mounted behind clear or dark glass. It is powered by 1.8V and communicates via an I2C interface.

The TCS3430 is the smallest true color sensor on the market today. This new product will fit comfortably in the smallest consumer products and offer another stride in enabling a positive user experience for consumer products.

Price:  1.59/1k QTY
Lead Time:  6 Weeks

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A veteran of the semiconductor and electronics industry, Mel began his career repairing dot matrix printers in 1998 for a larget IT company in the healthcare space. While earning his electronic engineering degree, he worked at a small design firm, giving him a broad base of knowledge in mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as purchasing and supply chain management. Once he graduated, Mel decided to pursue technical sales, working for one of the largest broad-line electronic component distributors in the world. To narrow his focus on a group of suppliers and technologies, Mel spent eight years working as a manufacturers’ rep selling semiconductors. With a well-rounded background in engineering, distribution, and technical rep sales, he currently works for a large semiconductor manufacturer in the Atlanta area. Mel has two small children and enjoys hiking on the weekends.


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