Milpitas, Calif. Silicon Microstructures Inc. (SMI), a high-volume supplier of low-cost, high-performance pressure sensors, has increased the production capacity of its new lines of ultra-small and co-integrated sensors on six-inch wafers. The company also announced faster new etching capabilities that enable greater device densities per wafer for three-dimensional structures and lower device cost.
SMI's new Alcatel DRIE machine, the AMS 200 advanced deep plasma etching tool, is now online, providing etch rates up to five times faster than previous tools. The company said the significantly enhanced sidewall and diaphragm definition enables tighter performance specifications, which will result in faster turnaround times and significantly reduced cost for customers.
Test structure created using SMI's Alcatel DRIE machine
The combination of design, a continuous improvement program, new etching capabilities and six-inch wafer line allows SMI to offer the ultra-small SM5108 pressure sensor at less than half the price of a standard-sized sensor with the same capabilities. In addition, 24,000 devices can be etched on a single six-inch wafer, which also contributes to the lower cost.
The 0.65 x 0.65-mm SM5108 chip is designed for high-volume applications including tire pressure monitoring, engine control, barometric pressure sensing, handheld meters and home appliances. The die is available in pressure ranges from 15 to 150 psi. Custom configurations are available.
Ultra-small SM5108 pressure sensor
The SM5822 co-integrated sensor is also available in production volumes. The packaged device combines state-of-the-art CMOS/EEPROM signal conditioning with pressure sensing on a single chip for high performance. The sensor is targeted at automotive, medical, consumer and industrial markets, from engine control to instrumentation applications. The key benefits of using SMI's co-integration method include smaller size, reduced cost, higher reliability, and tighter accuracy through multi-order temperature and pressure compensation, said the company.
Co-integrated SM5822 pressure sensor
Samples are available for both devices. The ultra-small sensors are priced at roughly $0.20. The packaged SM5822 pressure sensor costs about $2 to $5.
SMI is exhibiting at the Sensors Conference & Expo, June 8-10, in Detroit, booth number 439.
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