TowerJazz and Physical Logic Ltd. Announce Volume Production of High Performance MEMS-based Accelerometer for Inertial Navigation Applications

MIGDAL HA’EMEK and BNEI-BRAK, Israel — TowerJazz, the global specialty foundry leader and Physical Logic Ltd., a developer of MEMS-based sensor applications, announced a milestone achievement for mass production of its first generation high performance MEMS-based accelerometer family (MAXL-OL-2000). MEMS accelerators are sensors which can be used in inertial navigation applications to calculate the direction and speed of moving objects such as ships, aircraft, submarines, guided missiles and spacecraft. They are also used for measurement activities including monitoring cardiac patients to translate signals from the heart to the pacemaker, seismic sensing, tilt sensing, etc.

According to Yole Développement, many new applications are fueling the growth of the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) market, which is benefiting from significant technology evolutions, such as the continuous improvement of MEMS IMUs. High-performance inertial sensors and systems is a dynamic market segment as an ever-increasing number of platforms require stabilization, guidance or navigation functions. According to a Yole report, “Gyroscopes and IMUs for Defense, Aerospace & Industrial,” the IMU market is expected to reach $2.6 billion in 2015.

Physical Logic developed its MEMS-based accelerometer using a unique open-loop in-plane-bulk micromachining technology to provide a best in class tactical grade accelerometer with 40g dynamic range, 0.2% scale factor non-linearity and 4mg long term bias repeatability. The MAXL-OL-2000 includes an ASIC driver and offers solutions for various navigation and avionics applications. Other MAXL-OL-2000 tactical grade accelerometers with various dynamic range scales are also offered.

High-end accelerometer process flow is challenging and sets extreme manufacturing demands for high aspect ratio Si etch, stress control, high accuracy double side alignment and interface to package. TowerJazz’s 0.18-micron MEMS modular process and MEMS controller were used for Physical Logic’s accelerometer and ASIC devices respectively, in order to achieve the superior specifications required for sensitivity, stability, small form factor and low power consumption.

“TowerJazz meets our very high requirements for performance, on-time delivery, quality and technical support demanded by our customers,” said Katja Beyer CEO and General Manager of Physical Logic Ltd. “TowerJazz’s MEMS offering, combined with its advanced power management platform and superior engineering capabilities, enhances our success in penetrating markets requiring MEMS-based accelerometer applications.”

“Physical Logic’s focus on MEMS-based sensors and its expertise in MEMS design has positioned the company to meet the needs of a multitude of applications including military and consumer electronics, where rapid scale-up can be achieved. We are extremely pleased to be Physical Logic’s foundry of choice for MEMS manufacturing to address this expanding market,” said Zmira Shternfeld-Lavie, Vice President of Process Engineering R&D, TowerJazz.

“We are also proud to announce successful tests of our MAXL-CL-3000, the first upcoming commercial inertial navigation grade closed-loop MEMS accelerometers which meets scale factor non-linearly of 0.1% over 30g dynamic range and long term bias repeatability of 0.35mg. We chose TowerJazz as our foundry partner for its reputation in the industry for first time silicon success,” said Aviram Feingold, Vice President Engineering at Physical Logic.

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