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New All-in-One, Multi-Zone, Direct Time-of-Flight Module from ST


The VL53L5 has up to 64 ranging zones that help an imaging system build a detailed spatial understanding of the scene


STMicroelectronics has extended its portfolio of FlightSense™ Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors with the world’s first 64-zone device that breaks a scene into separate areas to help an imaging system build the most detailed spatial understanding of a scene.

This first-of-its-kind product comprises a 940nm Vertical Cavity Surface Emission Laser (VCSEL) light source, a System-on-Chip sensor integrating a VCSEL driver, the receiving array of Single Photon Avalanche Diodes(SPADs), and a low-power 32-bit MCU core and accelerator running sophisticated firmware. The VL53L5 retains the Class 1 certification of all ST’s FlightSense sensors and is fully eye-safe for consumer products.

Click for Larger Image - New All-in-One, Multi-Zone, Direct Time-of-Flight Module from ST Housed in a miniature module, the VL53L5 ToF sensor contains optical elements in the receive aperture that creates 64 ranging zones, unlocking a host of new features and use cases.

“The multi-zone VL53L5 FlightSense direct Time-of-Flight sensor uses our most advanced 40nm SPAD production process to offer outstanding 4m ranging performance and up to 64 ranging zones that help an imaging system build a detailed spatial understanding of the scene,” said Eric Aussedat, General Manager of ST’s Imaging Division. “Delivering 64x more ranging zones than previously available, the VL53L5 offers radical performance improvement in laser autofocus, touch-to-focus, presence detection, and gesture interfaces while helping developers create even more innovative imaging applications.”

With a vertically integrated manufacturing model for its FlightSense sensors, ST builds its SPAD wafers on a 40nm proprietary silicon process in the Company’s state-of-the-art 12” wafer plant at Crolles, France before assembling all of the module components in ST’s back-end plants in Asia. This approach delivers exceptional quality and reliability to customers.

Customer development with the VL53L5 can build on ST’s strong relationships with key smartphone and PC platform suppliers as ST has pre-integrated the sensor onto these platforms. Android and Windows device drivers are also widely available for the FlightSense products. The VL53L5 is in mass production with millions of units already shipped to leading wireless and computer manufacturers.

Features of the VL53L5 Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

  • Fully integrated miniature module
    • Emitter: 940 nm invisible vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) and integrated analog driver
    • 61° diagonal square system field of view (FoV) using diffractive optical elements (DOE) on both transmitter and receiver
    • Receiving array of single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs)
    • Low-power microcontroller running Firmware
    • Size: 6.4 x 3.0 x 1.5 mm
  • Fast, accurate distance ranging
    • Parallel multi zone output; either 4x4 or 8x8 separate regions of interest (ROI)
    • Up to 400 cm ranging
    • 60 Hz frame rate capability
    • Histogram processing and algorithmic compensation minimizes or removes impact of cover glass crosstalk
  • Easy integration
    • Single reflowable component
    • Flexible power supply options, single 3.3 V or 2.8 V operation or combination of either 3.3 V or 2.8 V AVDD with 1.8 V IOVDD
    • Compatible with wide range of cover glass materials
    • I²C or SPI interface
    • Low-power pin and two general purpose inputs (GPIOs) for interrupt and synchronization
    • Full set of software drivers (Linux and Android compatible) for turnkey ranging

For more information on the VL53L5 Time-of-Flight Ranging sensor, visit the ST Website at STMicroelectronics VL53L5 product page


The company's Web site address is www.st.com.
[Reprinted with kind permission from STMicroelectronics - Release Date 27th October, 2020]