A new MEMS pressure sensor from ST Microelectronics is the world's smallest, allowing it to fit into a fully moulded package for more accurate measurements and more protection from dust and water. Nick Flaherty reports.
Pressure sensors are increasingly being used in smartphones, tablets and wearable technology such as sports watches, smart watches, and fitness bands. These are used for accurate floor detection and enhanced location-based services, allowing more accurate dead-reckoning calculations, and opening the door to new smartphone apps such as weather analysers and health and sports monitors.
The LPS22HB is built in ST’s new MEMS technology called ‘Bastille’ that allows the use of fully molded HLGA (Holed Land Grid Array) packages, resulting in the smallest footprint measuring just 2x2 mm and reaching a thickness of 0.76mm.
This fully moulded package provides the best thermal and mechanical robustness with high shock survivability of over >20,000g while boosting the performance and offering the best trade-off between current consumption and noise and is already proven in ST’s 2.5 x 2.5mm pressure sensor. The 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.
The 3mm3 sensor includes enhanced temperature compensation that allows apps to perform consistently in changing environments, an absolute pressure range from 260 to 1260 hPa that covers all possible user altitudes (from the deepest mines to the top of Mount Everest), low power consumption less than 5μA, 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.