Epson Toyocom develops QMEMS-based atmospheric pressure sensor

November 25, 2008: Epson Toyocom Corp.’s US-based timing products division has developed an extremely small, high-performance quartz crystal atmospheric pressure sensor that employs an original pressure-sensing structure using QMEMS technology. QMEMS are fabricated on quartz, a crystalline material that has excellent stability and accuracy.

The new sensor has a cubic volume of only 12.5cc and weighs just 15g, yet is accurate to within 10Pa, or about 1/10,000 of one bar, and boasts a resolution of 0.1Pa. Commercial development is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2009.

In the past, pressure sensors have generally had to trade off performance for smaller size, and those for high-performance applications tended to be larger. Epson Toyocom’s new crystal pressure sensor, however, provides both high accuracy and high resolution in a diminutive package, thanks to an extremely stable oscillating frequency provided by the tuning-fork crystal unit, which serves as a pressure-sensing element, and to a newly developed original pressure-sensing structure made possible by QMEMS technology.

The performance and features of the new pressure sensor will greatly aid device designers in their efforts to reduce the size and improve the performance of devices for a variety of meteorological and security applications, such as measurement of barometric pressure in meteorological observations; measuring differences in elevation in centimeter increments; and detecting slight changes in internal pressure resulting from the opening and closing of inside doors and windows.

The new product also has potential applications in everyday electronic devices to provide accurate measurements of barometric pressure. Epson Toyocom is deploying the original pressure-sensing structure used in this product to develop crystal pressure sensors for a variety of applications.

Epson’s ultra-small, high-performance crystal atmospheric pressure sensor with QMEMS technology.


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