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Packing tech to drive auto MEMS sensors

Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011 and is filed under Manufacturing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Keywords: automotive  MEMS  sensors 

MEMS product companies have facing 3D challenges since the technology started. . For more than a decade, with traditional chip packages as the basis, MEMS technology paved the way for hermetic packaging, multidie stacking, and wafer capping, just to mention a few. These are all on track to become mature technologies.

Several MEMS product companies are also continuing to innovate by adding more functionality to the traditional semiconductor packages. There is of course the option to integrate more functions at the silicon-level. However, adding more features at the package-level—which the existing OSAT ecosystem can fully support—is much less time-consuming.

The automobile industry has been an early adopter of MEMS-based sensors. From seat-belt activation to rollover sensing, a typical automobile on the road today will have several sensors, many of them MEMS-based. In high end automobiles, this number can be as many as 150 although not all of them are MEMS-based. The market forecast for MEMS-based products in this sector is expected to cross $2B by 2012 and twice as much by 2015.

Automotive sensor applications

Figure 1: An overview of automotive sensor applications
Source: Infineon AG

The MEMS package is in general the sensing interface to the physical, chemical and biological inputs. The most common ones are pressure, temperature, acoustics, light, magnetic and electric fields, gas, humidity, frequency, acceleration, tilt/angular, mass, DNA (e.g., many countries are indeed considering steering-integrated breathalyzers). In addition to simply translating sensory inputs into equivalent electrical signals, the package can also be leveraged to sense without compromising linearity, reproducibility, reversibility, accuracy, noise and stability of the sensed inputs.

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