STMicroelectronics – Complete proximity-sensing module includes IR emitter and sensors in a single package


STMicroelectronics’ VL6180X is an innovative proximity and Ambient Light Sensing (ALS) module which takes an unusual approach to the measurement of distance from a reflective surface.

It is based on ST’s patented FlightSense™ technology. This enables absolute distance to be measured independent of the target’s reflectance. Unlike conventional Infrared (IR) ALS systems, which estimate distance by measuring the amount of light reflected back from the object (which is materially affected by the object’s colour and surface), the VL6180X precisely measures the time that light takes to travel to the nearest object and to be reflected back to the sensor.

Combining an IR emitter, a range sensor and an ambient light sensor in a three-in-one production-ready package, the VL6180X is easy to integrate and saves the end-product manufacturer from making long and costly optical and mechanical design optimisations. No additional optics or gasket are required.

The ALS provides a calibrated measurement of ambient light intensity as a lux value.

The module is designed for low-power operation:
• ranging and ALS measurements may be automatically performed at user-defined intervals
• multiple threshold and interrupt schemes are provided, which enables the system to keep calls to the host microcontroller to a minimum

Host control and reading of measurement results are performed over an I2C interface.

Optional additional functions, such as measurement-ready and threshold interrupts, are available via two programmable general-purpose I/O pins.


  • Measures absolute range at up to 40cm distance
  • Rejects ambient light interference
  • Cross-talk compensation for cover glass
  • ALS is sensitive at very low light levels


  • Portable touchscreen devices
  • Gaming devices
  • Domestic appliances
  • Industrial equipment
  • Sanitary and dispensing equipment

The P-NUCLEO-6180X1 evaluation pack consists of a NUCLEO-F401RE main board featuring an STM32F401 microcontroller, and one VL6180X expansion board. This board contains a slider switch for selecting range and ambient light measurements, and a four-digit display.

Orderable Part Number: P-NUCLEO-6180X1