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Automotive-Grade MEMS Pressure Sensor Handles Gas and Liquid Media

Jan. 25, 2024
This miniaturized MEMS pressure sensor makes gas and liquid media measurements from 2 to 70 bar, delivering a proportional analog output signal.

Able to be easily integrated into the latest electric-vehicle thermal-management systems, Melexis's MLX90830 is the company's first product to feature its Triphibian technology. This robust miniature MEMS pressure sensor handles gas and liquid media measurement from 2 to 70 bar, measuring the absolute pressure and delivers a proportional analog output signal.

Triphibian technology enables the MEMS sensor to provide accurate measurements considerably above 5 bar, but also while in contact with liquid.

The sensing mechanism contains a suspended cantilever inside of an SO16 package with the diaphragm at its tip, providing pressure spike immunity up to 2,000 bar/ms and static burst level up to 210 bar. Available in factory-calibrated ranges of 10 or 35 bar, each are tailored to address the demands of an EV thermal-management system, including low/high-pressure refrigeration loops.

More robust than rear-side exposed solutions, which still experience a pressure differential between the glass pedestal side and the wire bonding side, the MLX90830 provides elevated accuracy, helping to optimize the efficiency of the vehicle’s thermal-management systems.

Packing a Lot into a Small Package

The MLX90830's compact embedded packaging shrinks the sensor volume against standalone sensor modules. It includes a sensor readout circuit, digital hardware, voltage regulators, and analog output drivers.

Piezo-resistive elements implanted into the membrane create a Wheatstone bridge to generate an output signal, which is amplified and converted into a digital format. This allows its 16-bit DSP to apply temperature compensation before providing the result as an analog output.

Features include advanced protective mechanisms against overvoltage (above +40 V) and reverse voltage (below −40 V). In addition, the MLX90830 is a Safety Element out of Context (SEooC) under ISO 26262, enabling up to ASIL B system integration.

According to Karel Claesen, Product Manager Pressure Sensors, “Access to miniaturized and accurate factory-calibrated MEMS pressure sensors based on the Triphibian technology enable centralization of thermal-management systems in EVs, reducing the size and increasing the reliability of the system. The MLX90830 can easily be integrated by customers as a standalone device or embedded within the system.”

“With the Triphibian technology, MEMS sensors can increase the pressure levels they measure while also expanding the type of media they face,” adds Laurent Otte, Senior Product Line Manager. “Determining pressures of liquid media opens the door to applications both within the automotive industry and beyond, which historically could not be addressed by MEMS technologies.”

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