editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Why Is Plastic Package News?

A new device available in a plastic package. Big news! Wow, no one has ever done that before, right?

In so many other cases, this might be a reasonable reaction to a press release announcing a new plastic package. Except when the topic is MEMS. You can never take anything for granted with MEMS, it would seem. Least of all packaging.

So why is this news? It was a pressure sensor from STMicroelectronics. And here’s the deal: pressure sensors have to be open to the environment. That’s how they access the pressure, through a hole or port. If you take such a device, with its delicate diaphragm, and you subject it to the plastic molding process –which occurs under high pressure – you’re very likely to damage the pressure sensor itself.

Some folks have apparently addressed this issue by encasing the inner workings with a gel that can absorb the strain – in some cases even covering the sensor, meaning the pressure measurement has to act through the gel.

What ST did was to make a rather substantial change on the sensor die itself: they’ve decoupled the sensing element from the rest of the die, suspending the sense element by silicon springs. The springs handle the molding pressure without interfering with the sensed pressure. (Well, it would seem that the springs would have to be calibrated into the measurement, but they’re not blocking in the way a gel would.)

Rather a lot of work to accommodate something as silly as a simple plastic package. Which, of course, is neither silly nor simple… You can find out more in their announcement.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jan 24, 2020
Someone has created a song by taking Pi, assigning each number to a note, and adding harmonies. The result is strangely captivating....
Jan 24, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at the different ways memory can be organized in different kinds of systems.] Let'€™s look at a scenario: you run a restaurant, but you'€™re short on funds to hire people. So you'€™re your own chief cook and bottle-washer. You do everyt...
Jan 23, 2020
Embedded design trends typically revolve around three main ideas: faster data rates, smaller form factors and cost-effective solutions. Those design trends drive the theme for the 2020 Embedded Tech Trends forum: The Business and Technology Forum for Critical and Intelligent ...
Jan 22, 2020
Master the design and verification of next gen transport: Part One – Overview Master the design and verification of next gen transport: Part Two – High-Level Synthesis Master the design and verification of next gen transport: Part Three – Functional Safety M...

Featured Video

Automotive Trends Driving New SoC Architectures -- Synopsys

Sponsored by Synopsys

Today’s automotive trends are driving new design requirements for automotive SoCs targeting ADAS, gateways, connected cars and infotainment. Find out why it is essential to use pre-designed, pre-verified, reusable automotive-optimized IP to meet such new requirements and accelerate design time.

Drive Your Next Design to Completion Today with DesignWare IP® for Automotive SoCs