editor's blog
Subscribe Now

More Common-Process MEMS

Last year we took a look at a couple of proposals for universal processes from Teledyne/DALSA and CEA-Leti that could be used to make many different MEMS elements, trying to move past the “one product, one process” trap. We’ve also reported on the AMFitzgerald/Silex modular approach and their first device.

Well, the first design using CEA-Leti’s M&NEMS process has rolled out: a single MEMS chip with three accelerometers and three gyroscopes designed and implemented by Tronics. They’re not quite the smallest of the 6-DOF sensors, but they claim that, with more optimization, they will be. Right now their die size is 4 mm2. And they say that all main parameters are on track with their simulation models.

But this is just the first functional version; they’re going back to work some more while, at the same time, giving it a companion ASIC, releasing them at the end of this year.

They’re also using the same process to create a 9-DOF sensor set, with all of the sensors on a single MEMS chip. Also for release at the end of the year. And, the idea is, that, if they wanted to, they could also include a pressure sensor and a microphone, since they can all presumably be made on this same process. Yeah, you might wonder whether integrating a microphone with those other sensors has value; even if it doesn’t, being able to make it separately using the same process as the n-DOF chip still brings a huge level of manufacturing simplification.

These efforts, if successful, could represent a fresh breath of efficiency for some of the oldest sensors in the MEMS world. The industry also has new MEMS elements in the works, like gas sensors and such. If a standard process like this could be used for new sensors as well, then at some point new sensors could launch on standard processes rather than having to do the “one process” thing first like accelerometers and their ilk have done.

There are those who believe that these standard processes are too restrictive to allow the design of sensors with arbitrary characteristics. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this stuff to see whether these common-process skeptics can eventually be appeased or whether they’ll be proven correct.

Check out the details in Tronics’s release.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Oct 14, 2019
Simon Segars opened Arm TechCon with a new look, having discovered that real men have beards. This is the 15th Arm TechCon. In this post I'm going to focus on the new things that Arm announced... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community sit...
Oct 13, 2019
In part 3 of this blog series we looked at what typically is the longest stage in designing a PCB Routing and net tuning.  In part 4 we will finish the design process by looking at planes, and some miscellaneous items that may be required in some designs. Planes Figure 8...
Oct 11, 2019
The FPGA (or ACAP) universe gathered at the San Jose Fairmount last week during the Xilinx Developer Forum. Engineers, data scientists, analysts, distributors, alliance partners and more came to learn about the latest hardware, software and system level solutions from Xilinx....
Oct 11, 2019
Have you ever stayed awake at night pondering palindromic digital clock posers?...
Oct 11, 2019
[From the last episode: We looked at subroutines in computer programs.] We saw a couple weeks ago that some memories are big, but slow (flash memory). Others are fast, but not so big '€“ and they'€™re power-hungry to boot (SRAM). This sets up an interesting problem. When ...