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MEMSIC Solves the Accelerometer Puzzle

Accelerometers play a valuable role in many markets. Your smart phone has them, as does your car. Measuring the rate of change in velocity seems to have unlimited applications. While there are many design techniques available to create an accelerometer, MEMSIC® Inc. developed a MEMS and CMOS IC technology with no moving parts using Tanner tools. Using a unique thermal technology, acceleration is measured by using heated gas molecules.

It’s hard enough to design mixed-signal processing onto the same chip as a MEMS device, but MEMSIC has managed to integrate these technologies on the same silicon and sells millions of accelerometers in a variety of industries. The company has also overcome two other hurdles: keeping production costs low by sticking to a standard CMOS IC process, and standardizing development on a single set of tools from Tanner. This paper discusses how they accomplished this feat.