Sensor Frontends

Since the founding of Fraunhofer IMS, we have been working on miniaturized sensor technology. The sensor thereby converts the parameter to be measured (temperature, pressure, photons, thermal radiation, etc.) into an electrical signal. However, the signal is often of low amplitude and also susceptible to interference if it has to be transmitted over longer distances. To exploit the maximum performance of the sensor, signal conditioning is therefore required as close to the sensor as possible. The electronic circuits used for this purpose are usually analog in this first stage and are generally referred to as the sensor frontend. For transmission to a higher-level system, the analog signals are then usually converted to digital form.


Analog sensor front-end circuits can be of various types. In the simplest case, the sensor signal is amplified to a higher amplitude in order to be less susceptible to interference. However, other functions can also be associated with it, such as programmable amplification to allow calibration of the sensor with electronics, or adjustable offset compensation to make best use of its measurement range. The settings used for this are made digitally, transmitted via a suitable interface (e.g. SPI or RS485) and permanently stored in EEPROM memories. A sensor with electronics thus form a calibrated system; nevertheless, the set values can also be reprogrammed via the digital interface. The concept of Industry 4.0-compliant access to sensor nodes is thus effectively supported.


Sensor frontend electronics, however, include many other components besides amplifiers. For example, some sensors provide the measurement signal not as a voltage, but as a change in capacitance, and first require a converter to transfer the capacitance value into a voltage before the signal can be amplified. Similarly, the sensor may supply a current, which must be converted accordingly into a voltage for further signal processing.


Sensor frontend circuits can make a major contribution to improving signal quality by performing filtering functions. In addition to suppressing unwanted frequency ranges, so-called chopper amplifiers are mainly used here, which are capable of reducing the 1/f noise that occurs in integrated circuits. For high-precision applications, so called autozero amplifiers can be used, which are able to eliminate their own offset voltage.    

High Precision Readout IC for Accelerometers

Sensitive electronics for seismographic evaluation

High Resolution Delay Measurement in your ASIC

High resolution delay measurements for your product

High Resolution Delay Measurement in your ASIC

High resolution delay measurement in your ASIC

Inductive Position Sensor ASIC

Position detection by amplitude shift of the magnetic fields

Our technology areas - Our technologies for your development

Integrated Sensor Systems

Covers all electronic components for sensor signal conditioning and readout.

Optical Systems

Comprises 3D-Sensors, High-Speed-Imaging, detection of extreme low light as well as scientific imaging.

Wireless and Transponder Systems

Incorporates the wireless acquisition of sensor and ID-data even in passive systems.

Our technologies - Innovations for your products

Mixed Signal Design

Complex electronic functions are increasingly realized through the closely interlocked design of analog and digital circuits


In SoC design, complex systems with microcontroller, memory and extensive application-specific functions are developed

High Temperature Electronics

For applications with up to 300°C ambient temperature a special technology is available at Fraunhofer IMS

Integrated Sensors

Integrated sensors can be incorporated directly into a circuit design and enable miniaturized, efficient sensor systems

Neural Networks

Neural networks often allow highly efficient signal analysis directly at the location of the sensor system

"eHarsh Seminar"

Intelligent control of processes in the field of Industry 4.0 is presented by the ILT in your online seminar eHarsh


Smart Sensor Systems

Here you can get back to the overview page of the core competence Smart Sensor Systems (SSS).