ST packages MEMS in plastic for reliability and form factor upgrade

June 5, 2012 — Semiconductor supplier STMicroelectronics (ST, NYSE:STM) is now mass manufacturing its micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) microphones in plastic packages. Plastic packaging increases durability for consumer and professional end-use sectors, in mobile phones, tablets, headphones and more. The technology also saves space in the device compared to metal-lid MEMS packaging.

ST says that its microphone assembly process ensures good electrical and acoustic performance and mechanical robustness. The MEMS microphones integrate an internal shielding cage from electromagnetic immunity. Plastic packages proved better than metal-lid designs in compression and drop tests, withstanding a 40N force and 40 drops from 1.5m with a static force of 15N on the package.

The plastic package offers a slimmer form factor, advancing the microphone chip size reduction to 2mm2. This is a step on the path to MEMS microphones embedded in silicon cavities, said ST. Also read: MEMS microphones shrink to grow market share

ST’s MEMS microphones can be assembled on flat-cable printed circuit boards (PCBs) or rigid PCBs, with the sound hole designed in the package to either appear on the top or bottom for the shortest acoustic path from the environment to the microphone. Top-port microphones suit the size and sound-inlet position requirements of laptops and tablets; bottom-port microphones are common in mobile phones. The packages can be placed with standard surface mount assembly equipment.

The microphones can be used with ST’s Smart Voice processors for multi-microphone applications and Sound Terminal audio processing chips. ST supplies semiconductors and MEMS to customers in sense and power technologies and multimedia convergence applications. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.

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