X-FAB Expands MEMS Technologies to Include Inertial Sensors

Erfurt, Germany, February 6, 2003.

With the release of a new technology for inertial sensors, customers of the X-FAB Group have immediate access to a new process generation in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). X-FAB, the German-based, mixed-signal foundry, thus further solidifies its role as partner for development and volume production of MEMS-based sensor technologies.

The surface micromachining process, based on SOI wafers, is characterized by a high level of precision and uniformity, providing ideal conditions for high-volume production. The foremost application sectors for the XM30 technology are automotive and industrial electronics, e.g. acceleration sensors for air bags and rotation-rate sensors for navigation systems. Other potential deployment opportunities include medical and consumer product technologies.

A unique aspect of the technology is the so-called 'capacitive sensor elements', i.e. free-moving, three-dimensional structures that react to external movements caused by accelerational and rotational forces. These structures are produced using anisotropic and isotropic plasma-silicon etch processes.

"X-FAB is successfully expanding the range of foundry processes to include MEMS, and by introducing the new surface micromaching technology, we are making available the next generation of processes for micromechanical components", said Thomas Hartung, VP of Marketing & Sales at X-FAB Group. "The technology's outstanding stable properties permit more than just large production quantities. The new technology is also the logically consistent advancement in the continued development of the bulk micromachining technology already offered by X-FAB."

Design rules and process specifications are available beginning immediately. X-FAB will provide regular Multi-Product Wafer Service (MPW) starting in Q2 2003.

About X-FAB

X-FAB, with headquarters in Erfurt, Germany, is a European, independent mixed-signal foundry. The company has - with X-FAB UK (Plymouth, UK) and sister company X-FAB Texas Inc. (Lubbock, Texas) - three manufacturing sites, with a combined capacity of more than 8,000 8-inch equivalent wafer starts per week. X-FAB has appr. 900 employees worldwide.