mems ir emitters

Lightsense has developed a revolutionary new generation of infrared MEMS devices that forms the basis for its gas sensors and compact spectrometers.  

Proprietary advanced thin film materials combined with silicon processing result in the highest performance IR MEMS emitter.

The IR emitter plays a key role in the design of Lightsense infrared sensors, where a bright pulsable light source is necessary to achieve high sensitivity. The Lightsense emitter consists of a thin multilayer thermoresistive membrane with  high emissivity. 

The membrane incorporates Nano-Amorphous Carbon, a new class of electronic material.

The NAC films have the following characteristics:

  • Conductivity variable from dielectric to conducting
  • High hardness
  • Low stress and high strength
  • High emissivity

The membrane has low thermal mass and can be pulsed at a frequency as high as 100 Hz, which is very difficult to achieve with a broadband thermal source.  

This technology platform can be used to make a variety of sensors for health monitoring, energy-conserving smart buildings, methane greenhouse gas emission detection, and monitoring air pollution.

  • High sensitivity and accuracy
  • Low power, can operate on energy harvesting
  • Long life, >10 years with minimal maintenance
  • Low cost 
  • Small form factor, unobtrusive

Lightsense is developing a range of high-performance MEMS devices for sensor applications that address many of the demands of the Internet of Things.


The emitters produced with the NAC films have the following attributes:

  • Broadband emission
  • High output and efficiency
  • Long life, 15+ years
  • Fast modulation
  • Compact form factor