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Piezoresistive MEMS pressure sensor is waterproof

Posted: 06 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:piezoresistive sensor? MEMS? pressure sensor?

HSPPA piezoresistive MEMS sensor

Alps Electric has completed the development of its HSPPA series of piezoresistive-type waterproof MEMS pressure sensors. The claimed to be smallest of its kind, the sensors detect absolute pressure using barometric and water-pressure detection functions.

Pressure sensors are finding applications in a wide array of fields, popping up in medical as well as industrial devices. In cars, pressure sensors are used to detect oil pressure in brakes and power steering systems and for combustion control in engines. In consumer devices, pressure sensors are being used in washing machines; digital cameras and camcorders for color-correction and water depth detection during underwater photography; and in wrist watches for measuring barometric and water pressure.

Through the use of propriety thin-film process, microfabrication and packaging technologies, Alps Electric has developed the world's smallest piezoresistive/waterproof-type pressure sensor, realizing a design with a diameter of 3.95mm and a height of 1.85mm.

The sensor detects pressure by reading the electrical signals that result from changes in electrical resistance generated when external pressure causes the diaphragm to flex, which then distorts the piezoresistive element formed above the diaphragm. Utilizing direct detection of the electrical resistance of the piezoresistive element through the diaphragm's flexible volume enables a simple element structure, making this type of sensor suitable for compact-sized components.

Owing to the optimal use of structures and materials designed to realize waterproof capability, the HSPPA series maintains a high degree of water resistance, while achieving a highly sensitive level of performance as a pressure detector.

In addition, this product features minimal fluctuation characteristics due to the stable cavity configuration resulting from etching optimization and Si-Si sealed joints that control the impact of external component stress.

Aside from waterproof-type pressure sensors, Alps also features regular, single element- and built-in amplifier-type MEMS pressure sensors.

The pressure sensor began mass production in December 2009. The sample price is $21.65. The company is planning to produce 200,000 units monthly until December 2010.

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