Melexis Announces Pioneering Use of MEMS in Mid-Range Pressure Sensing Applications

The Melexis MLX90819 sensor IC is targeted at measuring mid pressure (10-50bar) levels. Applying its proprietary micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology to an area that had not been previously adequately served by a fully integrated sensor solution means that major system design benefits can now be derived. Available as a bare die, the MLX90819 runs off a standard 5V supply. It can be employed to accurately determine fluid pressure levels in wide variety of automotive and industrial focused applications. These include the monitoring of engine oil, transmission oil, engine coolant, vehicle fuel lines, air conditioning refrigerant and truck air brake pressures, just to mention a few. The IC delivers a relative pressure value. It has a 1ms response time, plus ±2.5% over life accuracy and ±0.2% linearity across its entire operational pressure range.

By using a more advanced process technology, the MLX90819 is unique in being able to leverage a microcontroller based architecture. This allows a much higher degree of sophistication to be incorporated onto the semiconductor die – with all digital processing, data conversion, temperature offset, gain compensation and filtering tasks being taken care of directly. A 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), 12-bit digital-to-analog (DAC) and high performance 16-bit processor core are embedded directly into each sensor IC. The cost and complexity implications of discrete MEMS solutions, as well as the space utilization and sealing wear-and-tear issues that blight traditional non-MEMS solutions, can thereby be avoided. The IC can deliver either an analog signal or a single edge nibble transmission (SENT) output for applications requiring a digital output.