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Patent Issued for Method and Structure of Monolithically Integrated Pressure Sensor Using IC Foundry-Compatible Processes

August 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- A patent by the inventor Yang, Xiao (Charles) (Cupertino, CA), filed on July 7, 2009, was published online on August 5, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8796746 is assigned to mCube Inc. (San Jose, CA).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to integrated micro-machined and integrated circuit devices. More particularly, the present invention provides a sensing device integral with integrated circuits, such as CMOS integrated circuits, which are foundry compatible. Merely by way of example, the present invention can be applied to a variety of applications, such as consumer, security, industrial, and medical.

"Pressure sensors have been widely in industry. Conventional pressure sensors are used in consumer, industrial, and medical applications. Examples of consumer applications include gauges for tires, which are mounted on automobiles. Conventional bathroom type weight scales also use conventional pressure sensing devices. Industrial applications include pressure sensors in pipes for processing chemicals, oil, and semiconductor devices. Medical applications such as blood pressure monitors also rely upon conventional pressure sensing devices. Although highly successful and widely used, conventional pressure sensors have limitations in size, performance, and costs.

"Specifically, conventional pressure sensors often use conventional micromachining techniques, common called 'MEMS' techniques. Micromachined or MEMS pressure sensors are fabricated using bulk and surface micromachining techniques. Such bulk and surface machining techniques have limitations. That is, conventional bulk and surface machining techniques are often stand alone and are able to produce discrete MEMS based devices. Although highly successful, the MEMS based devices still have limitations. These and other limitations are described throughout the present specification and more particularly below.

"Thus, it is desirable to have an improved MEMS device and more particularly pressure sensors."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "According to the present invention, techniques related generally to integrated micro-machined and integrated circuit devices are provided. More particularly, the present invention provides a sensing device integral with integrated circuits, such as CMOS integrated circuits, which are foundry compatible. Merely by way of example, the present invention can be applied to a variety of applications, such as consumer, security, industrial, and medical.

"The present invention relates to integrating a MEMS pressure sensor on top of a CMOS substrate monolithically using IC-Foundry compatible processes. In some embodiments, the CMOS substrate is completed first using standard IC processes. A diaphragm is then added on top of the CMOS. In one embodiment, the diaphragm is made of deposited thin films with stress relief corrugated structure. In another embodiment, the diaphragm is made of a single crystal silicon material that is layer transferred to the CMOS substrate. In a specific embodiment, the integrated pressure sensor is encapsulated by a thick insulating layer at the wafer level. The monolithically integrated pressure sensor that adopts IC foundry-compatible processes yields the highest performance, smallest form factor, and lowest cost. The monolithically integrated pressure sensor can be used in a variety of applications, for example, for integrating a microphone device with signal processing and logic circuits.

"In an embodiment, the present invention provides a pressure sensing device that includes a substrate having a surface region, a CMOS integrated circuit device layer overlying the surface region of the substrate, a diaphragm device having one or more surface regions overlying the CMOS integrated circuit device layer, and at least one or more spring devices spatially disposed within a vicinity of the one or more surface regions of the diaphragm device. Each of the folded spring devices being operably coupled to the one or more surface regions of the diaphragm device.

"Other embodiments of pressure sensing devices and methods are described in more detail below.

"Various additional properties, features, and advantages of the present invention can be more fully appreciated with reference to the detailed description and accompanying drawings that follow."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Yang, Xiao. Method and Structure of Monolithically Integrated Pressure Sensor Using IC Foundry-Compatible Processes. U.S. Patent Number 8796746, filed July 7, 2009, and published online on August 5, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8796746.PN.&OS=PN/8796746RS=PN/8796746

Keywords for this news article include: mCube Inc.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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