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Palo Alto, CA, United States, 2007/10/16 - Based on its recent analysis of the micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) based accelerometers market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes MEMSIC, Inc. with the 2007 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Excellence in Technology.
This Award is in recognition of the company’s innovative thermally based accelerometer design that has done away with a number of drawbacks associated with capacitive- or piezoresistive-based MEMS accelerometers.
Capacitive or piezoresistive MEMS inertial sensors suffer from hysteresis, mechanical ringing, and surface adhesion. They are also susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI). Another significant obstacle for these inertial sensors is the complexity and cost involved in their design and fabrication since they are typically application-specific.
"MEMSIC takes a considerably different approach," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Prithvi Raj. "It has pioneered unique thermal-based MEMS motion sensors that boast of high reliability and low cost, thus making them ideal for high-volume applications typically found in the automotive and consumer electronic industries."
The company’s accelerometer product family is based on a patented unique thermal technology with mixed signal processing circuitry on a single chip using standard complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process. The principle of operation of the sensor is heat transfer by natural convection.
"MEMSIC's sensors measure internal changes in heat transfer caused by acceleration and this is what makes it fundamentally different from all competing technologies available today," says Raj. "By eliminating the need for a solid proof-mass structure MEMSIC accelerometers sidestep conventional issues present in other MEMS inertial sensors."
When encountering an acceleration incident, the gas molecules within the sensor act as a proof mass and induce a change in temperature across temperature sensors embedded within the device. As there are no moving parts, MEMSIC accelerometers can withstand a theoretical shock limit of over 50,000 g, which is over five times that of traditional accelerometers. Surface adhesion or static friction is also, thus, eliminated.
MEMSIC’s technology also allows for perfect integration into standard CMOS integrated circuit (IC) fabrication. This helps to keep costs down and scale up production to meet rising demand. As a result, MEMSIC has a competitive edge over other MEMS inertial sensor manufacturers in terms of performance vs. price.
MEMSIC has a proven track record and provides some of the most reliable accelerometers aimed primarily at automotive and consumer sectors. Its accelerometers have the lowest failure rate for any device in its class. Their reliability coupled with low cost open up new applications especially in the coveted consumer electronic sector.
The company is also the largest supplier of accelerometers and tilt sensors in Asia and is the first MEMS manufacturer to provide hard disk drive (HDD) protection in laptops.
MEMSIC has been issued two patents and has another five pending. These patents relate to ‘Method and Circuitry for Thermal Accelerometer Signal Conditioning’, ‘Wafer-Level Package for Integrated Circuits’, ‘Single Chip Tri-Axis Accelerometer’, and so on. With these and other patents, MEMSIC has and continues to pioneer the development of thermal accelerometers.
"Patents such as the Single Chip Tri-Axis Accelerometer indicate the direction of MEMSIC’s R&D and its drive to develop designs that improve on conventional technology," notes Raj. "Current three-axis sensors employ two accelerometers, while MEMSIC is investigating ways of using a single accelerometer to sense three degrees of freedom, adding new levels of capability and reliability to these systems."
For developing an innovative motion sensing technology as well as successfully commercializing its technology, MEMSIC is a worthy recipient for the Frost & Sullivan Award for Excellence in Technology.
Each year Frost & Sullivan presents this Award to the company that has pioneered the development and introduction of an innovative technology into the market; a technology that has either impacted or has the potential to impact several market sectors. The Award recognizes a company’s successful technology development that is expected to bring significant contributions to the industry in terms of adoption, change, and competitive posture.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts, MEMSIC, Inc. (memsic.com) designs, manufactures and markets CMOS Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) IC products that have on-chip mixed signal processing. MEMSIC is the first and the only company that integrates a MEMS inertial sensor with mixed signal processing circuitry onto a single chip using a standard CMOS IC process. This combination of technology has successfully yielded highly affordable standard IC products with the highest long-term reliability and performance available today in the MEMS IC industry. This technological advantage forms the basis of Memsic's approach towards more sophisticated integrated sensor solutions used in many consumer and automotive applications.
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