Vishay – Proximity/ambient light sensor offers strong immunity to interference


The optoelectronics group of Vishay Intertechnology has released a high-sensitivity proximity and ambient light sensor module which can detect objects as far as 1m away.

Housed in an 8mm x 3mm x 1.8mm surface- mount package, the Vishay VCNL4100 combines a high-power IR emitter, photo- detectors for proximity and ambient light sensing, a signal processing IC and an 8-/16- bit ADC.

The detection range over which the proximity sensor functions is some five times longer than that of previous generations of IR sensor modules. This means that the VCNL4100 can be used for:
• presence detection to activate the display in printers, copiers and home appliances
• collision avoidance in toys and robots
• presence detection for lighting control in offices, corridors and public buildings
• presence detection in washrooms
• vehicle-occupancy detection in car parks

Integrating all the circuitry needed for these applications in one device, the sensor module eliminates the need for additional light barriers and for optical alignment of the IR emitter and photodiode.

The ambient light and proximity sensors of the VCNL4100 operate in a parallel structure, and each offers a programmable interrupt function with high and low thresholds. This allows the sensor to wake-up an application from a low-power mode, reducing the overall power consumption of an application.

Benefitting from FiltronTM technology, the ambient light sensor’s spectral sensitivity is close to that of the human eye while cancelling out the effect of background light sources.

The VCNL4100’s built-in ambient light photodiode is sensitive to light as dim as 0.01 lux and as bright as 5,243 lux, allowing the device to operate in applications with either a dark or transparent lens design.


  • Adjustable persistence to prevent false triggers
  • Immune to fluorescent light flicker
  • Excellent temperature compensation from -40°C to 85°C.
  • Operating voltage range: 2.5V to 3.6V


  • Printers and copiers
  • Home appliances
  • Robots
  • Toys
  • Lighting controls
  • Smart home and smart office equipment