Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology is branching out into new applications. MEMS makers are actively integrating their large analog devices with front-end and back-end digital circuitry to offer higher levels of system integration and functionality.
Greater integration has yielded reductions in size that were previously impossible for precision linear and angular position sensing and control applications. Austria Micro Systems of Unterpremstätten, Austria, has developed the AS5020, a highly integrated ultraminiature 64-position 6-bit absolute-angle angular-position Hall-Effect sensor.
Integrated on a single CMOS ASIC are the micromachined sensor array, an ADC, two registers, a one-time-programmable ROM, and a three-wire bus, all in a 4.93- by 3.94- by 1.48-in. package. Seldom has so much sensor technology been squeezed into such little space.
Front-end MEMS-sensor integration offers performance levels never reached with legacy sensors. Applied MEMS of Stafford, Texas, has an angular servo acceler-ometer for very sensitive seismic measurements in oil and gas explorations (see the figure).
The Si-Flex SF1500-UNLD force-balance device has the lowest noise performance for a commercial MEMS accelerometer. It can detect less than 30 ng rms √Hz. This 24-bit, fifth-order Δ-Σ sensor has over 115 dB of dynamic range, 128-kHz oversampling, and less than 0.0001% of full-scale distortion.
Go to www.austriamicrosystems.com and www.appliedmems.com.