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  Date:5th June 2012

ST delivers MEMS microphone in plastic package for consumer e-devices

STMicroelectronics has announced that it is the first company in the world that mass manufactures MEMS microphones in plastic packages. The patented technology breakthrough saves space and increases durability in consumer and professional voice-input applications, from mobile phones and tablets to noise-level meters and noise-cancelling headphones.

ST claims that they lead the way with industry-unique, innovative plastic packages. ST's microphone assembly process ensures better electrical and acoustic performance, mechanical robustness, slimmer form factors, and reduction in microphone chip sizes to 2x2 mm in devices that will soon arrive in the market.

These microphones are suitable for assembly on flat cable PCBs that simplify design in space constrained consumer devices. The patented package technology allows equipment manufacturers to place the 'sound hole' either on the top or the bottom of the package to ensure the slimmest possible design and shortest acoustic path from the environment to the microphone. While the microphones with the sound hole on the top (top-port) suit the size and sound-inlet position requirements of laptops and tablets, the bottom-port microphones are mostly used in mobile phones.

Microphones in plastic packages had outperformed traditional metallic-lid devices in durability as per ST's compression and drop tests. When subjected to a force of 40N1 - equivalent to placing a 4kg weight on the tiny chip - microphones in metallic packages collapsed, whereas ST devices in plastic packages remained intact. Similar results were obtained when devices from both categories were exposed to 40 drops from a height of 1.5m with a static force of 15N applied on the package. The superior robustness holds for both flat-cable printed-circuit boards (PCB) and traditional rigid PCB designs.

ST's plastic package microphones integrate an internal shielding cage for electromagnetic immunity and are compatible with standard surface mount assembly machinery and conventional pick and place equipment.

More information on ST's MEMS microphones http://www.st.com/internet/analog/subclass/1564.jsp

Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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