Aug 13, 2019 06:00 AM EDT
Increasingly in demand, manufacturers of smartphones are constantly improving the quality and features of their products. One of the current developments that they have is facial recognition that is not just for amusement but more for security. But what most people fail to recognize is what's behind this remarkable software-a 3D camera chip. This chip, known by manufacturers as an infrared vertical cavity surface emitting laser or VCSEL, is to be used on an estimated production of one billion smartphones within the following two years. However, the currently used production technique has a defective rate of about 50 percent, a large amount that adds to the cost of manufacturing and of course to the cost of the end product.
Sorex Sensors have looked into this issue and they came up with the FBAR sensor. Researchers from the company believe that the Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator sensor will be a big help in the manufacturing process. "Manufacturers are currently throwing half their material away," CEO Michael LeGoff says, "so if they can find a way to improve their yield, the economics are compelling."
To be able to improve the material, an understanding the production process at the atomic level was necessary. Producing complex semiconductors like the Gallium Arsenide VSCELs, atomic layers are poured onto a silicon wafer base in a chamber under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. The chamber is equipped with a sensor to make sure that the correct amount of the compound is deposited onto the substrate at the correct rate. However, the sensors that they use right now is not accurate. So operators are made to estimate when to change process and operation parameters like the temperature and pressure, and when to turn the equipment on and off. There is a lot of human intervention involved, which means a lot of human error as well.
The FBAR sensors consist of a thin film of resonating piezoelectric material and are fabricated on a silicon wafer substrate. When mass is gets in contact with its surface, it increases the resonant frequency. This results to a measurement of extremely high accuracy.
The company will be launching their new product, which they claim is a thousand times more accurate than existing sensors, in September.
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