LONDON Akustica Inc., a start-up developing acoustic components in silicon using MEMS manufacturing processes, has said it can now offer the first single-chip CMOS microphone.
The AKU2000 is a digital-output silicon membrane microphone suitable for use in microphone array applications requiring a high of degree noise immunity. The chip integrates the acoustic transducer together with an output amplifier and a fourth-order sigma-delta modulator on a single chip. The chip is implemented in CMOS.
The microphone chip is surface mountable and intended to replace the electret condenser microphone (ECM), a fifty-year-old technology that has been used in billions of portable electronic devices. Akustica's microphone chips show greater noise immunity than ECMs, Akustica (Pittsburgh, PA) claimed.
The AKU2000 is sampling and is priced at $3.87 per unit in 1,000 piece quantities. Akustica, a fabless company, did not say where it is getting the AKU2000 made. But said that CMOS MEMS device fabrication has been proven in nine different foundries and eleven different CMOS technologies, ranging from a 0.6-micron three-metal process to a 0.18-micron copper interconnect process.
“On the one hand, we are mainstreaming MEMS devices with our Microphone Chips for a broad consumer audience. On the other, we are helping manufacturers of laptop PCs, mobile phones and other digital media devices to overcome the acoustic problems that have seriously limited the widespread adoption of VoIP and other voice-based applications in the past.” said Jim Rock, co-founder and chief executive officer of Akustica, in a statement.
The market for silicon microphones is set to grow from 100 million units in 2005 to 800 million units in 2010,
Akustica said, referencing analysis company Yole Development, as its source.
“Akustica's ability to combine sensors and integrated circuits on a single silicon die using a standard CMOS process is a huge step forward for MEMS technologies,” said Marlene Bourne, MEMS industry analyst with Bourne Research, in the same statement. “The use of an economical, high-volume fabrication process is truly a turning point for the MEMS industry and one that will open new doors. By taking the CMOS MEMS approach, Akustica's microphone chips are well positioned to fulfill a real market demand.”
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