Ennostar, TAS developing short-wavelength infrared LED biosensing devices

Siu Han, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Asia 0


Ennostar and Taiwan Asia Semiconductor (TAS, formerly Opto Tech) are developing short-wavelength (over 1,000nm) infrared (IR) LED devices for use in biosensing including heart rates, SpO2, blood glucose, and expect such devices to be use in smart wearable devices in 2022, according to industry sources.

Apple will reportedly adopt short-wavelength IR LED devices to bio-sense blood glucose for new-generation Apple Watch, the sources said.

Short-wavelength IR LED biosensing devices consist of transmitters and receivers, with the former based on green- or red-light LED chips matched with IR LED chips and the latter on photo diodes, the sources noted.

Ennotar is developing IR LED devices of 1,000-1,650nm in wavelength and will develop models of 2,500nm in the next step, the sources indicated. For such IR LED devices, Epistar and Lextar Electronics - Ennostar's two wholly-owned subsidiaries - respectively produce AlGaInP LED chips and modules while Tyntek, of which Ennostar is a main shareholder, produces Si-based sensors.

Ennostar has annual AlGaInP LED chip production capacity of 400,000 epitaxial wafers at present, with such chips taking up over 20% of consolidated revenues. Due to strong demand for use in automotive sensors, sensors and horticultural lighting, Ennostar has fully utilized production capacity for AlGaInP LED chips since the second quarter of 2021.

In view of potential demand for biosensing, Ennostar expanded production capacity for over 1,000nm AlGaInP LED chips beginning the third quarter of 2021, with part of it coming into operation in the fourth quarter. Besides, Enostar is testing such chips for use in biosensing of smart wearable devices, with shipments expected to begin in 2022.

Being a main supplier of Si-based sensors used in Apple Watch, TAS has transferred advanced technology from Japan-based Nichia, its largest shareholder, to develop short-wavelength IR LED devices for use in biosensing functions of smart wearable devices, proximity sensors of Bluetooth earphones and ToF (time of flight) sensors of sweeping robots, the sources added.