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EETE OCTOBER 2012

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY PROCESS X-Fab MEMS foundry goes 3-D By Peter Clarke X-FaB SiliCon FoundrieS aG (erfurt, Germany) has an- ture of a six degrees of freedom (6doF) inertial measurement nounced a manufacturing process for 3-d inertial sensors unit (iMu). based on micro-electromechanical systems (MeMS). The “X-Fab’s open-platform processes launch a new era for the company claims it is the first open-platform MEMS 3-D inertial MeMS industry,” said iain rutherford, X-Fab’s MeMS business sensor process available directly from a high-volume pure-play line manager, in a statememt. “We are shifting the paradigm foundry. as a result fabless chip companies and others will be from the limiting ‘one product, one process’ rule to the open able to apply their own design, or use an X-Fab design partner, platform approach of giving any company access to a world- and run wafer volumes without process development. class quality process that can be used for multiple applications. early this year fabless inertial MeMS company invenSense it enables our customers to realize their goals in record time.” (Sunnyvale, Calif.), which uses TSMC and Globalfoundries as its The process includes a library of features based on single- sources of manufacturing, said it was opening up of its propri- crystal silicon for inertial masses and drive combs, proprietary etary nasiri process to others on a licensing basis. buried contact technology that supports complex metal inter- The X-Fab 3-d sensor process is suitable for applications connects using a single metal layer, low parasitic capacitance ranging from mobile devices, consumer goods, games and and eMi protection. The 3-d inertial sensor process comple- toys, automotive, robotics, industrial and medical equipment, ments established 1-d/2-d inertial sensor, pressure sensor and X-Fab said. it allows the making of 3-d inertial sensors based infra-red thermopile open-platform processes, and its ready- on accelerometers and gyroscope and one-axis and two-axis made iP blocks for 2G, 10G and 100G accelerometers. designs can be produced in the same process. accelerometer The process technology is available for engineering services and gyroscope designs also can be placed side by side on a and early access prototyping, with full qualification and com- single chip made with the same process, enabling the manufac- plete design rule access coming early in 2013, X-Fab said. Wireless glucose monitor aims to eliminate blood tests MEDICAL By nick Flaherty reSearCherS in GerMany and holland have developed a diagnostic system. tiny wireless biosensor that could eliminate the need for blood “it even has an testing for diabetes. integrated analog The researchers at the Fraunhofer institute for Microelectron- digital converter ic Circuits and Systems (iMS) in duisburg worked with dutch that converts the medical firm Noviosens to produce a low power biosensor for electrochemical blood glucose that combines measurement and digital analysis signals into digital with both an rF link and can be powered by rF energy in the data,” said Tom environment. Zimmermann, busi- For many diabetics checking blood glucose is an everyday ness unit manager part of life, especially for patients with Type-1 diabetes who al- at iMS. The biosen- ways have to keep a close eye on their levels as their bodies are sor transmits the data via a wireless interface, for example to incapable of producing the insulin to break down the glucose in a mobile receiver. Thus, the patient can keep a steady eye on the blood. Several times a day, they have to place a tiny drop his or her glucose level. “in the past, you used to need a circuit of blood on a test strip. it is the only way they can ascertain the board the size of a half-sheet of paper,” says Zimmermann. blood glucose value, so they can inject the correct amount of “and you also had to have a driver. But even these things are no insulin needed. and this pricking is not only a burdensome: it longer necessary with our new sensor.” may also cause inflammation or cornification of the skin. earlier systems required about 500µa at 5V; now, it is less The biosensor avoids this as it is located on the patient’s than 100µa. That increases the durability of the system – allow- body and is able to measure glucose levels continuously us- ing the patient to wear the sensor for weeks, or even months. ing tissue fluids other than blood, such as in sweat or tears. The sensor is able to send and receive data packages, but it The measurement involves an electrochemical reaction that is can also be supplied with power through radio frequency. activated with the aid of an enzyme. Glucose oxidase converts The next stage is to look at using the biochip to control an glucose into hydrogen peroxide (h2o2) and other chemicals implanted miniature pump that, based on the glucose value whose concentration can be measured with a potentiostat and measured, indicates the precise amount of insulin to administer. this measurement is used for calculating the glucose level. That way, diabetes patients could say goodbye to incessant The 0.5x2.0mm chip includes the nano-potentiostat and the needle-pricks forever. 6 Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE OCTOBER 2012
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