Page 17

EETE SEP 2014

piezoresistive nanowire technology and had an as yet unnamed lead customer. “We are making good progress. This is mainly an inertial product for consumer applications. We are also working on a 9-DOF MEMS component in design phase,” said Langlois. But clearly the consumer market for inertial measurement units in smartphones and tablets is so large that if M&NEMS technology can demonstrate a clear advantage it could make a dramatic difference to Tronics’ production requirements or put pressure on it to share the technology with other manufacturers. Langlois indicates that will be a nice problem to have, if and when it arises, but for now Tronics has its license from CEA-Leti as well as patents of its own that it has filed and manufacturing know-how that is difficult to replicate quickly. “We also have TSV through silicon via technology which we are using with RF-MEMS and which could be applied to piezo nanowire,” said Langlois. The company is still privately held even though it has been in existence for nearly 20 years. But in the last few years – as MEMS have taken off in consumer but with increased adoption in other sectors as well – the market has started to move towards Tronics. The company is backed by a team of venture capitalists including CEA Investissement, which specializes in nurturing CEA-Leti spin offs, but apparently is now profitable and doesn’t need to raise more venture capital. But it probably does need to pay back the patient money that has supported the company. “We are preparing for an IPO within about six months,” said Langlois. He added that the company would launch in Paris on the Euronext market. So how does Langlois see the MEMS industry developing? Will it evolve into a fabless/foundry model following the blueprint established by CMOS logic? Langlois does not see things so simply. “Disruptive technologies can come into a market from time to time – like M&NEMS – and that could enable new foundries and a new generation of fabless startups. But that development could be specific to certain markets. The inertial MEMS sensor market is quite mature and perhaps that creates an opportunity to differentiate in design. In other markets technologies may be less mature, have lower economies of scale and the idea of deep partnership may remain.” “The good news is there is a lot of growth for sensors. I am not sure whether it is a trillion but the megatrend is there. It is not just for the internet of things (IoT) but also for things like mechanical miniaturization, for things like more sensors in avionics, in life-sciences, more connected sensors and wireless.” Langlois added that Tronics is already involved in work on sensor fusion where it has cooperated with Movea SA, another CEA-Leti spin-off that is being acquired by InvenSense Inc. (San Jose, Calif.). “Sensor fusion is a discussion in itself but there is also the electronic treatment of the signal. There is the combination of the quality of the sensor and the mathematical capabilities. We have to enrich our capabilities in these fields,” he said. “But MEMS is a hot area right now. There is a proliferation of people coming with new ideas. It’s a very exciting area to be working in,” Langlois concluded. EXCEED YOUR LIMITS! HIGHEND QUALITY ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS www.taiyo-yuden.com Telecommunication, Information, Consumer, Industry and Automotive Electronics www.RZ_TY_electronics-Anzeige_EETimes_eetimes.Electronica14.com indd 1 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 01.08.14 2014 14:17 17


EETE SEP 2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above