Melexis launches its first Triphibian MEMS pressure sensor

Melexis launches its first Triphibian MEMS pressure sensor

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

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Melexis in Belgium has launched its first MEMS pressure sensor using a new patented architecture called Triphibian.

The Triphibian MEMS pressure sensor developed by Melexis handles gas and liquid media measurement from 2 to 70 bar in a 16pin SO16 package.  

The sensing mechanism contains a suspended cantilever with the diaphragm at its tip. This provides pressure spike immunity up to 2000 bar/msec and static burst level up to 210 bar. The two available calibrated ranges (10 or 35 bar) are each tailored to fulfill the demands of a distinct EV thermal management system, including low/high-pressure refrigeration loops.

The factory-calibrated device measures the absolute pressure and delivers a proportional analog output signal to simplify the system integration into the latest electric vehicles (EVs) thermal management systems.

The Triphibian technology allows the MEMS sensor to provide accurate measurements considerably above 5 bar but also while in contact with liquid which Melexis says is a unique capability.

The MLX90830’s design is inherently more robust than rear-side exposed solutions, which still experience a pressure differential between the glass pedestal side and the wire bonding side. The pressure equalization principle is also valid for frozen media, allowing the MLX90830 to survive in such conditions, a first for MEMS pressure sensors.

The MLX90830 includes a sensor readout circuit, digital hardware, voltage regulators, and analog output drivers. Piezo-resistive elements implanted into the membrane create a Wheatstone bridge to generate an output signal. This signal is amplified and converted into a digital format, allowing the 16-bit Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to apply temperature compensation before providing the result as an analog output.

The sensor is equipped with advanced protective mechanisms against overvoltage (above +40 V) and reverse voltage (below -40 V). This makes it usable for truck applications. The MLX90830 has been developed as a Safety Element out of Context (SEooC) under ISO 26262, enabling up to ASIL B system integration ensuring it meets the latest EV safety demands.

Compared to existing non-MEMS-based designs, the MLX90830 has higher accuracy and robust design, helping to optimize the efficiency of the vehicle’s thermal management systems, allowing for a longer range. Furthermore, its compact embedded packaging shrinks the sensor volume against standalone sensor modules.

“Access to miniaturized and accurate factory calibrated MEMS pressure sensors based on the TriphibianTM technology enable centralization of thermal management systems in EVs, reducing the size and increasing the reliability of the system,” said Karel Claesen, Product Manager Pressure Sensors. “The MLX90830 can easily be integrated by customers as a standalone device or embedded within the system.”

“With the Triphibian technology, MEMS sensors can increase the pressure levels they measure while also expanding the type of media they face,” said Laurent Otte, Senior Product Line Manager. “Determining pressures of liquid media opens the door to applications both within the automotive industry and beyond, which historically could not be addressed by MEMS technologies.”

Melexis is a leader in automotive sensors where, on average, every new car produced worldwide contains 18 Melexis chips. The company is using this expertise to serve other markets as well: alternative mobility, smart appliances, smart buildings, robotics, energy management and digital health.

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