Electronics & Computers

X-FAB Goes 3D

September 13, 2012

The company offers foundry service providing direct access to an open-platform 3-axis inertial sensor process.

ERFURT, GERMANY /Marketwire/ -- X-FAB Silicon Foundries, which has shipped more than a billion MEMS devices, announced the "industry's first open-platform MEMS 3D inertial sensor process available directly from a high-volume pure-play foundry." With access to the new 3D inertial sensor process, fabless and other companies will be able to apply their own design or use X-FAB's design partner and immediately run wafer volumes without long and costly process development. X-FAB's open-platform process results in faster time to market and secure high-quality manufacturing for inertial sensors.

The new MEMS technology is suitable for a wide range of applications, such as mobile devices, consumer goods, games and toys, automotive, robotics, industrial, and medical equipment that use 3D accelerometers or gyroscopes. One-axis and 2-axis designs can be produced with the same process. Accelerometer and gyroscope designs also can be placed side by side on a single chip made with the same process, enabling the manufacture of 6DoF IMU.

"X-FAB's open-platform processes launch a new era for the MEMS industry," said Iain Rutherford, X-FAB's MEMS Business Line Manager. "We are shifting the paradigm from the limiting 'one product, one process' rule to the open platform approach of giving any company access to a world-class quality process that can be used for multiple applications. It enables our customers to realize their goals in record time."

X-FAB's new technology features robust, single-crystal silicon for inertial masses and drive-combs, proprietary buried contact technology that supports complex metal interconnects, using a single metal layer, low parasitic capacitance and EMI protection. The 3D inertial sensor process complements X-FAB's established 1D/2D inertial sensor, pressure sensor and IR thermopile open-platform processes, and its ready-made IP blocks for 2G, 10G, and 100G accelerometers. The new 3D inertial sensor technology was developed using X-FAB's step-by-step qualification procedures to ensure the process is characterized, stable, and high yielding. All X-FAB manufacturing sites are ISO 9001 and ISO TS16949 qualified.

X-FAB is participating in the MEMS-in-Motion event in Palm Springs, CA, on Sept. 12–13, 2012. Attendees can meet with X-FAB there to discuss the MEMS 3D open-platform process.

The technology is available now for engineering services and early access prototyping, with full qualification and complete design rule access coming early in 2013.

About X-FAB
X-FAB Silicon Foundries is the leading analog/mixed-signal foundry group, manufacturing silicon wafers for analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs). X-FAB maintains wafer production facilities in Erfurt and Dresden, Germany; Lubbock, TX, U.S.; and Kuching and Sarawak, Malaysia, and employs approximately 2400 people worldwide. Wafers are manufactured based on advanced modular CMOS and BiCMOS processes, as well as MEMS processes, with technologies ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 micrometers, for applications primarily in the automotive, communications, consumer, and industrial sectors.

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