MEMS micromodules and smart edge sensors

In today’s world sensors can be found everywhere – from motors and industrial equipment to mobiles and home appliances. The electronics of today and tomorrow require increasingly small and more efficient components and modules as well as sufficient power to operate. By developing more sophisticated and less power consuming Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), integrated circuits (ICs) and sensors, we can integrate new functionalities into electronic equipment.

Key facts about MEMS micromodules and smart edge sensors

VTT has been active in state-of the art R&D in microelectronics for decades.

PiezoMEMS enables device development to new application fields.

Smart edge sensors enable efficient data handling locally.

With the help of miniaturized systems, extreme functionalities and high-performance operations can be packed into compact-sized, low-power-operated units. These bring novel capabilities to for example medical and health technologies as well as condition monitoring of assets.

VTT has been creating innovations and enablers in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for over twenty years. We focus our unique competences to create a wide range of sensors and devices in numerous challenging applications, such as

  • telecommunications
  • health technology
  • automotive
  • environmental monitoring

PiezoMEMS as Future Key Enabler

A specific spearhead in our expertise portfolio is the process and application development of piezoelectric thin films based on (Sc)AlN. We study intensively both the deposition and patterning aspects of utilizing thin films. Additionally, the various application possibilities of PiezoMEMS are fascinating:

  • Acoustic wave devices (BAW, SAW, FBAR) are increasingly in demand for filtering signals in modern RF communication, including 5G and 6G
  • Ultrasonic transducers, especially when configured in matrix form, find use in different fields, ranging from medical and health technology (gas, liquid flow measurement, vital sign monitoring and tissue imaging) to urban infrastructure maintenance (HVAC solutions and smart water monitoring)
  • PiezoMEMS technology brings advances in inertial sensing, beam steering as well as LIDAR applications in the form of dynamically controlled micromirrors. PiezoMEMS can also be used for biosensors for detecting analytes and viruses.

Condition monitoring with acoustic emission MEMS sensors

A critical area of development is the condition monitoring of valuable assets in industrial manufacturing, power distribution and other applications. By detecting acoustic emission signals from an asset, we can reveal early signs of wear and allocate maintenance timely before any catastrophic failures occur. At VTT we have developed a MEMS sensor that can be adapted to various frequency ranges and application environments. Ultrasonic transducers can also be used for non-destructive testing and monitoring.

Optical MEMS for gas detection and spectroscopy

Our surface micromachining experts develop thin film processes and components for MEMS-based Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPI). Thanks to these we can create palm-sized laboratory instrumentation that are used as voltage-tunable band pass filters in for example gas detection and spectroscopy.

New surface-MEMS pressure sensors

We have been part of the pressure measurement field for decades thanks to our strong expertise in thin films and their usage in micromechanical structures. Our surface-MEMS-based absolute and differential pressure sensors and sensor matrices can be tailored and used in the most extra-ordinary applications imaginable. 

Integrated Circuits (IC) for MEMS Readout

At VTT, we integrate MEMS devices into operational micromodules and smart edge sensor systems. When applicable, we design an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or an analog front end to read an interpret the MEMS sensor. A customized readout part guarantees smallest possible size, low power consumption and low noise. 

Neural Networks Boosting Edge Computing

Electronic systems interact with their environment via sensors, which convert the real world to the digital world. With increased amount of sensors and complex measurements, we face challenges with power consumption and limitation of available data transmission capacity from sensor nodes to cloud services. Local data processing via edge computing and neural networks relaxes the requirements for data throughput and sensor power consumption.  Our key expertise lies in combining sensors and hardware based analogue neural networks to achieve superior performance in computing and energy efficiency. 

Our microelectronics related offering

At VTT, we offer you R&D services related to:

  • MEMS micromodules
  • ASICs
  • edge computing
  • IoT sensor networks
  • other research fields related to Microelectronics

We can support you all the way - from basic research and feasibility studies to proof of concepts, prototyping, and small-scale manufacturing via VTTMemsfab located in Micronova. 

Piia Konstari

Piia Konstari

Solution Sales Lead