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TSMC lays down MEMS mic, gas sensor plan

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TSMC? monolithic integration? MEMS? gas sensor? CMOS?

TSMC has announced its plan to use its advantages in being able to combine CMOS logic and MEMS sensors together to come up with innovative sensors and use cases in order to extend its role as a supplier to fabless MEMS vendors foundry.

It plans to do this both through its capabilities in stacking and packaging multiple die and through monolithic integration, according to Kees Joosse, director of business development at TSMC Europe.

Joosse was speaking at the European MEMS Summit, organised by the SEMI trade association in Milan, and laid out the strengths in MEMS that TSMC wants to play to and the next platforms that TSMC will offer, MEMS microphones and gas sensors.

In his talk, Joosse discussed TSMC's portfolio of sensor and display technologies and also how the sensor technology can be married to RF and power management processes to create wireless sensor nodes for the Internet of Things. A second theme developed by Joosse was that sensors could be used not only to enhance the senses humans have but also to physical parameters that humans cannot, such as near-infrared light, gas identification, ultrasound.

TSMC progress in MEMS platforms

TSMC progress in MEMS platforms; microphones and gas sensors next. Source: TSMC

Joosse said that TSMC's ability to provide CMOS ASICs alongside sensor die and package them provided an advantage in offering sensor hub processing and improved context sensing. The foundry is already making a pressure sensor sensitive to 50cm for a client and Joose said "MEMS microphones are next, to be done monolithically, and after that gas sensors."

However, when asked at the same conference on the benefits of going monolithic with MEMS microphones, Alfons Dehe, principal MEMS analyst at Infineon Technologies AG said that bringing the MEMS and ASIC together monolithically tends to be limit to one or both of the chips and is generally not a good thing. He said it might be a good thing you need to go very small.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times Europe

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