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OMRON to Launch Mass-production and Supply of MEMS Acoustic Sensor Chip
-World's first1 MEMS sensor capable of detecting the lower limit of human audible frequencies-

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  • November 25, 2009
  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kyoto, Japan - OMRON Corporation (TSE: 6645, ADR: OMRNY) has announced that it will begin mass-production of its MEMS acoustic sensor chip for use in compact microphones for mobile phones, as well as acoustic sensors2 in the first quarter of 2010 (From January to March). This sensor chip is among the smallest in the world and delivers high sensitivity in the very low acoustic frequency range. Along with the mass-production launch, OMRON will also start supplying this sensor chip for microphones from STMicroelectronics, the top manufacturer3 of MEMS sensors for use in consumer and commercial products.

The new MEMS acoustic sensor chip delivers world-leading miniaturization and high sensitivity [-26 dB FS (1 Pa, 1kHz)] by drawing on OMRON's proprietary device structure and improved production technology. Its unprecedented low-noise design also enables practical use in a frequency range as low as 20Hz, the first of its kind in the world. As well as maximizing the performance of MEMS microphones, the sensor chip also extends its operating frequency range to 20Hz. This is the lower limit of human audible range - much lower when compared to conventional MEMS sensors incapable of detecting acoustic frequencies below 100Hz. This promises to greatly expand potential applications for acoustic sensors.

OMRON will seek to discover potential needs for detecting sounds and producing new added value. Reflecting these needs, OMRON also plans to develop acoustic sensor modules by embedding various applications into the sensor chip. Examples include detection of abnormal machine sounds at manufacturing sites, improvement of voice recognition in a noise-filled environment, health management through bioacoustic signal measurements, and security mechanisms in public spaces such as railway stations and shops. By leveraging its accumulated expertise for various applications related to each business segment, OMRON aims to offer more miniaturized, higher-performance acoustic sensor modules that even exceed the capabilities of the human ear.

  • 1 In-house survey in September 2009
  • 2 The collective name for sensors equipped with a function equivalent to human auditory perception.
  • 3 2008 Yole Developpement survey
  1. Features
    • The chip is one of the world's smallest among those produced on an 8-inch wafer MEMS process, while delivering high sensitivity in a wide frequency range.
    • The back chamber volume essential for raising sensitivity is maximized without compromising the compactness of the chip dimensions by drawing on OMRON's proprietary loopback etching process.
    • Sensitivity ranks highest among MEMS acoustic sensors through the use of a four-point support structure for the diaphragm and repeated improvements in its thin-film formation technology for use in the 8-inch wafer MEMS process.
    • The sensor chip is capable of detecting acoustic frequency as low as 20Hz, which was impossible with conventional MEMS sensors, thanks to OMRON's low-noise design expertise.
    • High reliability and mass-producibility are ensured by chip and process design reflecting 20 years of the company's experience with MEMS technology.
  2. One and only facility capable of 8-inch wafer MEMS line fabrication in Japan
    • OMRON has succeeded in realizing a 3-dimensional MEMS fabrication process on an 8-inch line.
    • Leveraging the company's experience with its 8-inch CMOS production line has led to superior mass-producibility, uniform quality and stable supply with quick delivery.
    • Mass-production of MEMS pressure sensor chips is now underway on the 8-inch MEMS line for use in blood pressure monitors from OMRON Healthcare Co., Ltd., an OMRON subsidiary.
  3. Specifications
    1. Dimensions: 1.3 x 1.4 x 0.5mm
    2. Ratings (recommend values)
      1) Usable temperature range: -40°C to +100°C
      2) Maximum input voltage: +15V
    3. Specifications (reference values)
      1) Sensitivity: -26 dB FS (1Pa, 1kHz)
      2) Frequency range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  4. Production Site

    OMRON Corporation Yasu Factory

About OMRON

Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation. Established in 1933 and headed by President & CEO Hisao Sakuta, OMRON has over 32,000 employees around the world working to provide products and services to customers in a variety of fields, including industrial automation, electronic components, social systems (ticket gate machines, ticket vending machines and traffic control) and healthcare. For more information, visit OMRON's website at www.omron.com.

Media Inquires
Sarah Hall (sarah_hall@omron.co.jp)
OMRON Corporate Communications Department
Tel.: +81-3-3436-7202

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