Baolab Microsystems has
announced that it will have evaluation kits of its recently announced 3D
NanoCompass available at the end of February 2012. This electronic 3-axis CMOS
MEMS NanoCompass technology uses Baolab's patented, award winning NanoEMS
technology to create nanoscale MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) within
the standard metal structure of a high volume manufactured CMOS wafer.
"We are now producing NanoEMS sensors in volume in a standard CMOS production
line." said Dave Doyle, Baolab's CEO. "The move from lab to fab is a significant
milestone for the company, proving that our innovative technology is reliable,
scalable and repeatable. This was the critical stage that our customers have
been waiting for. NanoEMS makes it much easier and more cost effective to
integrate MEMS sensors with microcontrollers and associated electronics all on
the same chip in the same CMOS production line. This is the breakthrough that
will enable high volume, consumer electronics products to have intelligent
sensors, meeting the increasing demand for smarter, more aware devices."
NanoEMS technology not only offers significant cost reductions in motion
MEMS sensors but Baolab envisages the possibility for NanoEMS structures to be
easily incorporated into ASICs for applications such as RF Antennas, RF
switches, Near Field Communications and Automotive. Possible areas that Baolab
and its customers are investigating are:-
These overcome the limitations of classic
(static) antennas such as compact superdirective/superesolution antennas/lenses
that require phase shifters and gains with an accuracy not currently realistic.
Vibrating antennas make these feasible along with spatial multiplexing
communications for mobile telecoms and internet.
Thermo-magnetic RF switches & antennas
By exploiting the low
value of the Curie temperature of Nickel, it is possible to build RF switches,
filters and reconfigurable antennas. This creates a novel category of
reconfigurable RF MEMS components which are highly reliable, since there are no
moving parts, achieving compelling RF specs, low power consumption and low cost
thanks to CMOS processing.
This novel topology enables compelling
specifications for RF switches with low-capacitance ratio and high isolation,
using low cost, low resistivity CMOS substrates. The principle is based on
transferring power from the different transmission modes in a transmission line,
using reconfigurable MEMS loads to balance and unbalance the line.
Integrated passives: inductors, transformers, capacitors
inductors with a helicoidal shape typical of off-chip inductors, offer reduced
losses (higher Q) and smaller parasitic capacitance (higher resonant frequency).
It is also possible to create transformers with any winding ratio.
Integrated capacitors for low frequency applications, especially power, where
the tangent capacitance is used instead of the traditional approach using secant
capacitance. When capacitors are used in voltage regulators, only a small
fraction of the charge stored in the capacitor is typically used to regulate the
voltage. This kind of capacitor allows a higher percentage of the stored charge
to be used to regulate the voltage, which makes it possible to implement
smaller, integrated filters and regulators, with superior performance.
The small feature size of CMOS processing makes it is
possible to implement RF MEMS filters up to the GHz band required for cell phone
communications and significantly increase the electromechanical coupling.
Current MEMS RF mechanical filters have a problem with very low
electromechanical coupling, which means low sensitivity, that they try to offset
by means of using a very high voltage but with limited success.
NanoEMS MEMS enable integrated charge pumps and
power supplies, which are lower in cost, more compact and more efficient.