Off-chip trans-capacitive sensing has the advantage of integrating sensor electrodes into any form factor or sensor aperture geometry desired by the customer, and for customers that want to maximize the security strength and usability within a pre-defined sensor shape, this is the way to go. The IDEX patented sensor architecture results in superb field shaping, with elimination of common mode noise at the front end, to deliver the strongest SNR in the industry. Off chip sensing also provides for a completely flexible sensing area build out of a passive material, and moldable to curved surfaces and extremely thin. This type of flexibility cannot be achieved in a silicon sensor.
IDEX is one of only two vendors with commercially proven and patent-protected off-chip capacitive sensing technology. Separating the ASIC from the sensing array provides IDEX and its customers with increased form factor flexibility and lower cost for medium and large area sensors. The company’s off-chip technology is a key differentiator in multiple target end markets.
Off-chip sensors are ideal for card integration. IDEX has developed thin off-chip sensors made of polymer with a small ASIC, thus enabling compliance with ISO bending tests. Moreover, in a card the sensor must be larger than in applications such as mobile given the limited processing resources in a card. Given that off-chip technology enables an ASIC with a small footprint to be combined with a larger polymer sensing array, the cost points are superior to alternative technologies
Off-chip sensors also offer a very compelling value proposition for mobile devises. Given the cost advantage in medium and large form factors IDEX can offer products with superior performance at a compelling price. In addition, the off-chip technology enables a future roadmap of in-display flexible OLED integration
In Q1 2017 IDEX completed development of its next generation off-chip ASIC, which will be the foundation for a range of new flagship products and solutions that IDEX will launch during 2017 and beyond. The new ASIC chip delivers an impressive combination of enhanced performance and reduced power consumption at a lower price point. Designed specifically to be flexible across multiple product applications in IDEX’s target markets cards, mobile and IoT, the chip’s low power consumption also makes it ideally suited for contactless card applications. Additionally, the ASIC features an on-board microcontroller for increased processing power and enhanced security features, such as encryption.
IDEX has partnered with TSMC, the leading company in its field with customers such as Apple, Qualcomm and Mediatek, as the foundry for volume manufacturing of the ASIC. The relationship provides IDEX’s customers with significant capacity from the leading semiconductor producer in the world.