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ST delivers dust-free, water-resistant pressure sensor

Posted: 13 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:pressure sensor? MEMS? LPS22HB?

STMicroelectronics expanded its environmental sensors portfolio with the LPS22HB, a MEMS pressure sensor that breaks new ground in combining high accuracy and robustness with ultra-small physical size.

Pressure sensors are increasingly being used in smartphones, tablets and wearable technology such as sports watches, smart watches and fitness bands. They enable accurate floor detection and enhanced location-based services, allow more accurate dead-reckoning calculations, and open the door to new smartphone apps such as weather analysers and health and sports monitors. For this reason, market analyst IHS estimates that the global market for pressure sensors for consumer electronic applications will reach almost a billion units by 2018.

The LPS22HB is the world's smallest pressure sensor and also the only one offered in a fully moulded package that provides the best thermal and mechanical robustness (high shock survivability > 20,000 g) while boosting the performance and offering the best trade-off between current consumption and noise. This is because it is built using ST's new MEMS technology called "Bastille" that allows the use of fully moulded HLGA (Holed Land Grid Array) packages, resulting in the smallest footprint measuring just 2mm x 2mm and reaching thinness below 0.8mm.

The new pressure sensor also boasts of an operating temperature range of -40C to 85C. In addition, because of its dust-free and water resistant packaging, the LPS22HB is best suited for the automotive environment, which is among the most hostile for semiconductor components due to moisture, dirt and vibration.

ST pressure sensor

Already proven in ST's LPS22HB 2.5mm x 2.5mm pressure sensor, this technology eliminates the need for a metallic or plastic cap, as well as any additional mechanical grid for isolation, as it is dust-free and water-resistant by design.

"Leveraging our proprietary industry-leading MEMS technology, our advanced packaging expertise, and our ASIC design skills, ST has created in the LPS22HB a unique pressure sensor housed in a fully moulded package with a volume of only 3mm3," said Francesco Italia, General Manager, High-End Sensor and Analog Division, STMicroelectronics.

Key technical features of the new pressure sensor include enhanced temperature compensation that allows apps to perform consistently in changing environments, an absolute pressure range from 260 to 1260hPa that covers all possible user altitudes (from the deepest mines to the top of Mount Everest), low power consumption less than 5A, and pressure noise lower than 1Pa RMS.

Samples of the LPS22HB are available now for OEMs, with volume production scheduled for Q3 2015. Subsequent distribution price will be $1.40 for 1000 pieces.

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