STMicro builds new pressure sensor technology with MEMS

July 31, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
A fully-moulded package incorporating an isolated sensing element offers industry-leading precision for absolute pressure measurement.

STMicroelectronics has announced a new, ST-patented technology that isolates the pressure-sensing element within a fully moulded package to meet the ultra-small form factor requirements and design creativity for the next generation of portable consumer devices.

Integrating the isolated pressure-sensing element in a fully moulded package, this unique technology enables fully encapsulated wire bonding with no risk of corrosion, elimination of wire bonding damage during pick and place assembly, no risk of cap detachment or cap damage while the device is being mounted, and no impact on the sensor from the soldering process to ensure a more robust packaging solution.

“This technology represents a revolution in the enhancement of performance and quality for pressure sensors. STMicroelectronics pioneered the use of fully-moulded packages without gel for high volume manufacturing for accelerometers and gyroscopes,” said Benedetto Vigna, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Analog, MEMS & Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics. “We are now leveraging this knowledge to revolutionise packaging in the emerging field of pressure sensors where ST is the first to use a fully-moulded package without gel for a high performance pressure sensor with enhanced accuracy.”

The new technology enhances accuracy (± 0.2 mbar) while continuing to offer zero drift, low noise (0.010 mbar RMS) and a simplified calibration system, making it ideal for a broad range of consumer, automotive and industrial applications including indoor/outdoor navigation, location-based services, enhanced GPS dead-reckoning, altimeter and barometer functions, weather station equipment, and healthcare applications.

According to market analysts Yole Développement, the MEMS pressure sensor market will grow from $1.9B in 2012 to $3B in 2018. MEMS pressure sensors for consumer applications, especially for smartphones and tablets, will represent 1.7 billion units and will overtake automotive as the leading target application for MEMS, adding 8% CAGR to the global MEMS pressure sensor market. ST has over 800 MEMS-related patents and patent applications worldwide, has a production capacity of 4 million devices per day and has shipped more than