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Fairchild brings 'smart' IMUs to MEMS market

Posted: 17 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Fairchild Semiconductor? IMU? sensor? MEMS?

Fairchild has been quietly perfecting microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies since it first licensed the Sandia (National Laboratories) Ultra Planar Multilevel MEMS Technology (SUMMiT) for foundry services back in 2001. However, today after over a decade of technological development, the company is announcing its first Fairchild-branded MEMS using a "smart" technology more sophisticated than SUMMiT, namely a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) with nine-axis sensor fusion algorithms.

Fairchild has continued filling out its "smart" MEMS technology portfolio the easy way, by acquiring in 2010 the deep-trench high-aspect ratio capabilities from Jyve, a serial entrepreneur Janusz Bryzek startup, and in 2014 by acquiring the Hollywood-proven motion-tracking software algorithms of Xsens.

"Fairchild knows that it is entering later a crowded space as ST, InvenSense and more recently also Bosch have established themselves solidly in the supply of IMUs and it cannot offer a 'me-too' product," said Jeremie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst, MEMS & sensors, at IHS. "Therefore Fairchild has leveraged the system and software know-how of Xsens acquired last year to offer a lower power consumption not only at the sensor component level but at the system level when considering the processing power."

One "smart" aspect of Fairchild's MEMS technology is its stacked die approach using modern through-silicon vias (TSVs) instead of RF interference prone wire bonding. The Jyve-inspired MEMS die, on the bottom, and the CMOS DSP die, on the top, are stacked and packaged in the same 3.3mm x 3.3mm x 1mm package. The Xsens-inspired XKF3 motion processing software run on the application processor but do not overburden it, since the data is pre-processed by the IMU. The chip is also self-calibrating; no more figure-eight requests of the user by the application processor.

FIS1100 MEMS chip

The FIS1100 MEMS chip from Fairchild cuts power by 10-fold by processing 1kHz raw data locally in its strap-down integration (SDI) AttitudeEngine ASIC mounted on top and connected by through-silicon-vias to keep the package at just 3.3mm x 3.3mm x 1mm and communications to the host at just 1Hz to 64Hz through a 1536 byte FIFO. (Source: Fairchild)

Fairchild's MEMS

Fairchild's MEMS is 60?m thick using high-aspect ratio etching to produce a low-power gyroscope that can stay one all-the-time using a single-mass dual-cavity design for higher reliability. (Source: Fairchild)

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