MEMS pressure sensor
The MEMS pressure sensor is a thin film element that deforms when subjected to pressure. The strain gauge (piezoresistive type sensing) can be used to measure this deformation, and it can also be measured by capacitive sensing of the change in distance between two surfaces. Both methods are very popular.
The automotive industry continues to be the largest application area for MEMS pressure sensors, accounting for 72% of sales, followed by medical electronics 12%, industrial 10%, consumer electronics and military aviation occupying the remaining 6% of the market.
In the automotive sector, engine management is its main application, including manifold air pressure sensors in gasoline engines and common rail pressure sensors in diesel vehicles, especially in Europe. In order to improve the combustion situation, some organizations are also studying pressure sensors that can work in cylinders to better measure the exact proportion of various substances involved in chemical reactions and to feed back data to the engine management system.
Due to the harsh working environment, the price of automotive sensors is much higher than that of consumer sensors. In addition, automotive sensors require long authentication times, and these sensors must work reliably for up to 15 years. Some sensors, such as brakes or tire pressure sensors, are critical to vehicle safety.
A new application for MEMS pressure sensors in automobiles is transmission pressure sensing, commonly used in automatic devices, but also for new dual clutch transmission systems. German manufacturer Bosch recently entered the market and launched a MEMS solution that uses oil to protect the silicon film to a pressure of up to 70 bar. Porous silicon MEMS devices have also been used in current side airbag applications.
In the medical market, pressure sensors primarily act as disposable low-cost catheters for surgical use. But they are also used in expensive equipment to sense pressure and differential flow in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAC) machines. These devices have great potential and may become implantable sensors after 2015. Implantable sensors work without a battery and can be used for heart measurements and monitoring glaucoma.
In the industrial field, the main applications of MEMS pressure sensors include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), level measurement, and various industrial process and control applications. For example, in addition to precise altitude barometric measurements, aircraft uses sensors to monitor engines, flaps, and other components.
In the past few years, the pressure sensor market has made rapid progress, has had a positive impact on the competitive landscape, introduced new players for the market and expanded the range of existing participants in the market.