Ams Osram has been rediscovering its LED flavor under new CEO Aldo Kamper, and that trend continued this week with the introduction of a new red/green/infrared multichip package that detects heart rate and blood oxygen levels in fitness watches and other wearables.
The new SFH 7018 “offers more than 40 percent higher radiant intensity than the previous generation product, resulting in higher accuracy PPG (photoplethysmography) measurements in smart watches, wristbands and other wearable devices,” the Premstaetten, Austrian–based company said in a press release.
Improvements include what ams Osram described as “a highly reflective QFN (quad flat no leads) package for significantly increased light output,” as well as a two-cavity design that separates the green LED from the red and the IR chip. The spacing reduces interference between the chips, maximizing green’s use as a heart rate monitor and the red’s and IR’s use for measuring blood oxygen.
“By using the new SFH 7018, manufacturers of wearable devices can dramatically improve the quality of the optical signals on which heart rate and blood oxygen measurements are based, making them more accurate and reliable in all operating conditions,” said ams Osram senior staff system architect Sergey Kudaev. “The SFH 7018 can help to transform vital signs measurements into accurate and absolute determinations of heart rate, blood oxygen levels and even more advanced parameters, such as blood pressure.”
The 40% improvement in light/infrared intensity over the earlier SFH 7016 is key to the overall improvement.
“When more light is modulated by the blood flow and subsequently reaches the photodiode, signal quality improves, yielding higher accuracy and better repeatability of measurements,” the company said. “The SFH 7018 enables this superior performance by emitting more light into the body.”
The new LED package is in production now in both an “A” model for low-voltage deployments and a “B” model that optimizes light levels.
CEO Kamper took the reins last April 1. His arrival has brought on a reemergence of LEDs in the spotlight at ams Osram, a company that also makes sensors dating back to before July 2020 when the E.U. approved ams’ acquisition of Osram. Prior to the ams acquisition, Kamper had run the LED chip division at Osram, before departing for four years as CEO of Nuremberg-based automotive wiring and cabling company Leoni Group.
In the company’s recent LED resurgence, the automotive sector in particular has stood out for making financial gains.
MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).