Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sensor + Test 2015: Cost-effective production of magnetic sensors

01.04.2015

They are found wherever other measurement methods fail: magnetic sensors. They defy harsh environmental conditions and also function in fluids. A new procedure is now revolutionizing the production of two-dimensional magnetic sensors: They now only cost half, and production time is reduced by 50 percent.

Where did you have to go? Turn right here – or was it the next turn? A glance at the smart-phone helps: Various apps provide maps and turn them in the right direction, adjusting them to north. Navigation devices are equally »clever«: They too show the right direction even before the car sets off.


View from above of the prototype of a two-dimensional magnetic sensor.

© Fraunhofer ENAS

This is made possible by a magnetic sensor. It establishes how the device is being held in relation to the earth’s magnetic field. The market is highly competitive: Every cent counts in the price of the sensors. Until now, manufacturers have relied on several cheap one-dimensional sensors. The disadvantage: They are less sensitive and do not work as accurately as two-dimensional models.

In future however, compact two-dimensional sensors could find their way into smart-phones. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS, in Chemnitz have optimized the corresponding manufacturing process. »The costs and manufacturing time for two-dimensional magnetic field sensors drop by half«, says Dr. Olaf Ueberschär, group manager at the ENAS.

Sensors »from one piece«

The reason for this drop in costs lies in the method of production: The scientists produce the sensors from one piece of material – hence in a totally different way than ever before. Because even a one-dimensional sensor needs two microelectronic half-bridges, whose applied magnetic fields point in opposite directions.

As the basic materials specify a magnetization direction, meaning that the magnetic field within them is already aligned, two different pieces of material used to have to be joined – an elaborate and also expensive procedure. Two half-bridge sensors or four pieces of material were required for two-dimensional sensors.

»For the first time we are able to produce not only the full bridges, but also the two-dimensional sensors monolithically – from one piece«, Ueberschär adds. For this purpose, the researchers separate a layer of material off a wafer and etch the desired structure out. The trick lies in the subsequent laser treatment: This enables the scientists to adjust the preferred magnetic directions at will.

As small as the dot on the “i”

Another advantage: The new sensor is not even quite a square millimeter in size, thus being only about half the size as former models. The smaller the mini-chips are, the more applications they are suitable for. For example for magnetic field cameras, containing numerous sensors in several lines and columns, recording magnetic data. If a high resolution is to be achieved, the sensors must be as small as possible – only then do they fit in close proximity to one another and do not mutually interfere.

Magnetic sensor technology is not restricted to smart-phones. It is used wherever adverse ambient conditions prevail and other measurement methods would fail – for instance in fluids or hot oil baths. They are also found in cars, for example in fully electronic gear levers such as are installed in newer vehicles in the center console or on the steering wheel. And in medical diagnostics they are used to trace tropical diseases and other viruses and bacteria.

Experts will present prototypes of the two-dimensional sensors at the Sensor + Test trade fair from May 19 to 21, 2015 in Nuremberg (Hall 12, Booth 12-531 / 12-537). It will however take about another year before the sensors can actually be used in products.

Dr. rer. nat. Martina Vogel | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/april/cost-effective-production-of-magnetic-sensors.html

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht High Resolution Laser Structuring of Thin Films at LOPEC 2017
21.03.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Open ecosystem for smart assistance systems
20.03.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>