2x2mm MEMS microphones delivered in tough plastic packages

June 04, 2012 // By Julien Happich
STMicroelectronics' novel microphone-assembly process ensures superior electrical and acoustic performance, unbeatable mechanical robustness, and slimmer form factors, according to the manufacturer.

The 2x2mm devices are suitable for assembly on flat-cable printed-circuit boards that simplify design in today’s space-constrained consumer devices. The patented package technology allows equipment manufacturers to place the 'sound hole’ either on the top or the bottom of the package to ensure the slimmest possible design and shortest acoustic path from the environment to the microphone. While the microphones with the sound hole on the top (top-port) suit the size and sound-inlet position requirements of laptops and tablets, the bottom-port microphones are mostly used in mobile phones.

Stringent compression and drop tests have shown that microphones in plastic packages also outperform traditional metallic-lid devices in durability. When subjected to a force of 40N – equivalent to placing a 4kg weight on the tiny chip – microphones in metallic packages collapsed, whereas ST devices in plastic packages remained intact, says the company. Similar results were obtained when devices from both categories were exposed to 40 drops from a height of 1.5m with a static force of 15N applied on the package. The superior robustness holds for both flat-cable printed-circuit boards (PCB) and traditional rigid PCB designs. The plastic-package microphones integrate an internal shielding cage for uncompromised electromagnetic immunity and are compatible with standard surface-mount assembly machinery and conventional pick-and-place equipment.

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