Infrared sensing has applications in various sectors, such as gas sensing, spectroscopy, temperature sensing, flame detection, occupancy sensing and have recently showcased a promising future in gesture control. Infrared sensors are typically of two types — cooled and uncooled. Cooled sensors require cryogenic cooling, and though they provide high sensitivity, they are bulky and expensive devices. However, the key challenge in uncooled pyroelectric infrared sensing is the lack of fast responsiveness, which is critical for certain applications, such as gas sensing, spectroscopy, or flame detection. Moreover, certain pyroelectric sensors require eventual recalibration. These challenges have limited the proliferation of pyroelectric infrared sensors, which otherwise have a huge potential.

Scotland-based Pyreos Ltd. has been able to address the aforementioned challenges with its thin-film lead pyroelectric zirconate titanate (PZT) technology, which is able to deliver high responsiveness at competitive price.

Pyreos’s infrared-sensing technology is based on thin-film PZT material. The company is able to use films that are 0.1–0.2 microns thick, which enables the high responsiveness required for critical applications. Pyreos has been able to attain permanent polarization of the material, a property that the competing technologies are unable to achieve. Without permanent polarization, the material drifts back to its normal state and hence requires recalibration.

The two major aspects of Pyreos’s technological innovation include the use of thin films and permanently polarized material. These properties enable Pyreos to effectively differentiate its technology from the competitors. Pyreos has been able to achieve this through constant technological efforts.

Pyreos is backed financially by international investors such as Siemens and Bosch. Pyreos has set up a class-10 clean room that is used for product development and pilot production in its headquarters at Edinburgh, Scotland. Using in-house testing facilities, Pyreos ensures that its technology and new products meet high-quality standards. These facilities help Pyreos to bring to market a top-quality infrared-sensing products at a rapid pace. Partners in Europe and Asia mass manufacture the sensors. The company also collaborates with Siemens for technology development, which has helped it in commercializing and establishing itself as key player in the infrared-sensing industry.

Pyreos has been able to use its core technology to develop various products that cater to diverse markets, such as spectroscopy, gesture control, and gas sensing. The company has been extremely successful in the industrial sector, where it provides sensors primarily for the development of spectrometers (e.g., handheld spectrometers) in the mid-infrared range. The company’s primary product is the infrared-sensing die, which helps develop products with varied specifications or as per the needs of customers. Apart from spectrometers, Pyreos supply packaged infrared sensors as well as linear sensor arrays.

The commercialization success for Pyreos is primarily attributed to its superior technology capabilities. Having a global network of sales and  distribution has also helped Pyreos to gain prominence in various geographies.

Infrared sensing has applications in various established industries and emerging market sectors. Pyreos’s passive infrared sensors are targeted primarily at spectroscopy markets, which are traditionally used for research and laboratory applications. However, Pyreos is aiming introduce low-cost spectroscopy solutions for the consumer electronics market. Emerging applications for Pyreos’s technology include touchless gesture control for automotive, occupancy detection, motion sensing, and wearable health and wellness tracking. The technology is able to cover a large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, including all infrared, visible, and ultraviolet frequencies.

Pyreos Ltd. has been able to address key challenges faced by hot pyroelectric infrared sensors, such as low responsiveness and high cost. The company has developed an impressive core technology based on thin-film PZT material that has broad application in various industries.

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