After having been part of Infineon Technologies since the summer of 2003, Sensonor is back as an independent company with Norwegian investors as from 1st of March 2009. The company makes a real difference in the industrial sensor community by focusing on products using MEMS technology, but for High Precision applications.
Based out of Horten, a small town 100 km south of Oslo in Norway, Sensonor has for 24 years played a significant role in the development of the global MEMS industry. Over the years, more than 200 million pressure sensors, more than 200 million accelerometers, and more than 2 million gyros have been shipped to customers for use in numerous type of applications. Probably the most important reason for this success is the extremely low failure rate experienced by customers relaying on Sensonor products; less than 1 failure in 10 million parts shipped.
The legacy of silicon based sensors at Sensonor goes even further back. Already in the mid sixties the mother company, AME, started up with pressure sensors and accelerometers based on piezoresistive micromachined silicon strain gauges and from the late seventies with etched diaphragm silicon sensors.
The impressive list of world "firsts" clearly shows the dedication and capability to provide global customers with innovative solutions:
• First MEMS pressure sensor for Aircraft Engine Control (AE880 - 1985)
• First MEMS accelerometer for Air Bag Systems (S64A - 1987)
• First optical pressure sensor for Down Hole Well Monitoring (PP05 - 1990)
• First low cost Air Bag Accelerometer (SA20 - 1992)
• First integrated micro system for Tire Pressure Measurement (SP13 - 1998)
• First low cost Automotive Gyro (SAR10 - 2003)
During the past ten years MEMS technology has played a more and more dominant role within automotive and consumer volume applications. The reason is obvious and explained by the superior advantages of MEMS compared to conventional technologies:
• Lower cost - Smaller size - Lower weight - Less Power - More Robust
In opposition to the MEMS success within automotive and consumer, there are very few examples where MEMS play an important role within High Precision sensing applications. Sensonor has taken the challenge to bring the same capable and reliable benefits to customers operating with High Precision products.
During the early nineties, Sensonor developed its triple stack hermetic wafer bonding technology that has shown extremely good long term properties. In short the technology is based on a combination of micro machined single crystalline silicon and micro machined glass wafers. These wafers are then bonded together using anodic bonding and a controlled gas pressure creating electrical connections into the bonded cavity by utilizing semiconductor diffusions buried under a layer of epitaxial silicon.
These stable long term properties have been explored within High Precision applications by customers using our pressure sensors as well as by customers using our ButterflyGyroTM sensors. Sensonor has on this platform launched a number of High Precision products aiming to:
• Replace traditional High Precision technology by offering lower cost and better robustness in smaller housings using less power at equal performance
• Enable new High Precision applications by offering low cost and high robustness in small housings using low power at performance levels not available in today's market
Being in the forefront of advanced technology requires the most efficient research, development and manufacturing arrangements. Sensonor operates its own 150 mm wafer fab for advanced heterogeneous MEMS processes and several fully equipped assembly and test lines.