The era of the MEMS switch may finally be here thanks to the research efforts of GE. Its MEMS chip, as small as 50 microns square, swathes as fast as 3 GHz and can handle up to 5-kiloWatts of power, making it a candidate for everything from industrial power control, to turning on light bulbs to switching antennas inside a smartphone.
MEMS Switch from GE claims fastest/highest Power Crown - [Link]
Invensense MPU6050 is an integrated gyroscope and accelerometer with 16-bit readings. It contains 2 dies, soldered face-to-face in multiple places (that’s what was causing us troubles last time!).
On the overview photo you can see how not-flat they are. On a bigger die MEMS part is 28µm above surface, on smaller die – 100 µm above. Also, there is logic right under MEMS on the bigger die.
Invensense MPU6050 6-axis MEMS IMU die-shot - [Link]
The broad benefit of MEMS technology is that it will allow high-volume, small-package technology and batch semiconductor manufacturing to replace the complex manufacturing processes associated with quartz. Since the final product is a silicon die, MEMS can be co-packaged (overmolded) with associated ICs, enabling further benefits in manufacturability, size, compatibly, ease-of-use, and, of course, lower total system cost. Finally, MEMS is more immune to shock, vibration, and electromagnetic interference (EMI) than quartz; can be designed to be free of “activity dips”; and can support operating temperature ranges beyond -40°C to +85°C. (by Todd Borkowski)
Time for a change: Quartz oscillators make way for MEMS - [Link]
Check out the awesome photo of the MEMS cavity on page 8! – [via]
Awesome photo of the MEMS cavity - [Link]
This is a collection of Maxim’s newest real-time clock ICs.
This real-time clock IC operates with very low current and is compatible with high-ESR crystals for a space saving, low-cost design. Read the rest of this entry »
Epson has combined the reliability of quartz crystals with the tiny dimensions of MEMS devices to create a tiny high-resolution six degree-of-freedom inertial measurement unit that can track motion for everything from aerospace to oil-well drilling. [via]
Epson Downsizes Inertial Measurement Units - [Link]
ST Microelectronics has introduced what it is calling the world’s smallest digital e-compass — a three-axis magnetometer combined with a three-axis accelerometer on a 2x2mm MEMS chip.
By saving board space on next-generation mobile devices, this device should enable new ultra-miniature, location-aware applications. Micro-electromechanical systems already provide much of the smarts to smartphones, and ST is already a major supplier for devices from Apple’s iPhone to Samsung’s Galaxy. However, a new generation of smartphones and other personal devices will have even less board space.
ST said in a press release that its new LSM303C is 20 percent smaller than previous models, saving just under a square millimeter of board space. That does not seem like much, but it will be welcome for devices such as smartwatches or monitoring bracelets, where space is especially precious.
ST Introduces Smallest MEMS Compass - [Link]
TempFlat MEMS Eliminates Temperature Compensation. Steve Taranovich writes:
SiTime Corporation has introduced the TempFlat MEMS. Until recently, all MEMS oscillators used compensation circuitry to stabilize the output frequency over temperature. This new design eliminates temperature compensation, resulting in higher performance, smaller size, lower power and cost. The basic architecture of a MEMS oscillator combines a MEMS resonator die together with an oscillator IC. As shown on the left side of the diagrams below, SiTime has developed different types of MEMS resonators for different applications needs.
SiTime’s MEMS Resonators: An alternative to Quartz - [Link]
According to researchers at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, graphene can increase the sensitivity of micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors by up to 100 times due to exteme thinness of graphene films compared to other piezoresistive materials.
Piezoresistive pressure sensors typically integrate silicon piezoresistors into sensor membranes so that strain can be read in terms of resistance. The MEMS version suspends the membrane over a cavity by etching out the underying silicon dioxide. In the KTH version, an extremely thin layer of graphene is suspended over a cavity etched into a silicon dioxide layer on a silicon substrate. The extreme thinness of the graphene membrane – less than a nanometer with a monolayer membrane – increases the sensitivity of the electromechanical effect. [via]
Graphene Beats Silicon in Strain Gauges - [Link]
by Steve Taranovich
The following is a white paper by Silicon Labs with an innovative new process and technology that I believe deserves some level of detail and explanation for informative and educational purposes for EDN readers. Learning about this technology will help all designers give birth to new ideas and architectures as well as help those other designers to effectively integrate this type of product into their systems,
CMEMS® technology is an innovative CMOS + MEMS manufacturing process developed by Silicon Labs, a leading supplier of timing solutions. The term CMEMS is a contraction of the acronyms CMOS and MEMS (microelectromechanical systems). CMEMS technology offers many benefits over traditional oscillator approaches, ranging from scalability, customer-specific programmability and 0-day samples, to long-term reliability and performance. This white paper describes CMEMS process technology, existing hybrid oscillator architectures and the Si501/2/3/4 (Si50x) CMEMS oscillator architecture.
CMEMS oscillator architecture - [Link]