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Feb 14th, 2013
 
Tronics takes breakthrough submicron MEMS technology of CEA-LETI to production
 
Tronics kicks-off the industrialization of a unique piezoresistive nanowire MEMS technology that can take 9 DOF motion sensors to a new level of competitiveness.
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Early in their partnership, Tronics developed reliable production processes based on CEA-Leti SOI MEMS technology and established a solid MEMS supply chain that continues to be profitable. Building on that success, Tronics recently launched a new large-scale project to industrialize CEA-Leti’s breakthrough M&NEMS (Micro and Nano Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology. This technology is based on piezoresistive nanowires rather than pure capacitive detection, and is poised to be a real leap forward in terms of device performance and chip size. This project, which is solidly funded and well underway, sets the stage for a new generation of combo sensors for motion sensing applications.

Within 2 years, the team will develop 6 DOF, 9 DOF and higher DOF devices, where all sensing elements are using the same M&NEMS technology. The goal is to achieve both significant surface reduction and performance improvement of the multi-DOF sensors. Beyond the smaller die size and the ultra-low power consumption, M&NEMS technology allows manufacturing of all the sensor’s axes (accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure) with one unique technology platform. This high level of integration and commonality simplifies the associated control and readout electronic circuits, both in terms of design and operational efficiency.

In addition to investments by Tronics and its partners, a substantial portion of the project’s cost is supported by a 6.5 Million Euros grant provided by the French Ministry of Industry within its “Nanoelectronique” Industrial Support program.

Tier one pilot customers and well-established industrial partners are involved in the initiative, to ensure its fit with market needs and its rapid convergence to actual products. Leading ASIC suppliers are also contributing their expertise to design a motion sensor chipset that fully leverages the M&NEMS strengths. Last but not least, data fusion software specialist Movea is providing its world-recognized expertise to enable advanced motion capture capabilities, such as indoor navigation and dead-reckoning.

To generate the volumes required by consumer applications, Tronics plans to support the technology all the way to high volume 8 inch production maturity.

Not only will the M&NEMS technology shift paradigms in the consumer MEMS industry, but in principle it can also suit the high-performance requirements of future high-end accelerometers and rate gyros.

After more than 10 years of successful partnership, CEA-Leti and TRONICS are now engaged in one of their most ambitious MEMS projects to date, towards a real breakthrough in the MEMS industry.

Peter Pfluger, CEO of Tronics, explains: “This is the most exciting technological endeavor I have been involved in in the last 10 years. This technology truly has the potential to be disruptive in the motion sensing business”.

 

 
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