SOURCE: Epson Toyocom Corp.

November 25, 2008 08:30 ET

Epson Toyocom's U.S.-Based Timing Products Division Develops Ultra-Small, High-Performance Crystal Atmospheric Pressure Sensor With QMEMS Technology

EL SEGUNDO, CA--(Marketwire - November 25, 2008) - Epson Toyocom Corporation's U.S.-based Timing Products Division has announced the development of an extremely small, high-performance quartz crystal atmospheric pressure sensor that employs an original pressure-sensing structure using QMEMS(1) technology. The new sensor has a cubic volume of only 12.5 cc and weighs just 15 grams yet is accurate to within 10 Pa(2), or about 1/10,000 of one bar(3), and boasts a resolution of 0.1 Pa. 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. Among the applications will be:

--  Accurate measurement of barometric pressure in meteorological
    observations
--  Measuring differences in elevation (in approximately one centimeter
    increments) using barometric pressure
--  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, and Epson Toyocom is deploying the original pressure-sensing structure used in this product to develop crystal pressure sensors for a variety of applications. The company aims to further improve performance and reduce size through technological advances in QMEMS-based micro-fabrication, high-stability crystal oscillation circuits, and high-precision sensors.

Main Specifications
Item                         Specifications
Pressure sensing range       50-150 kPa (absolute pressure)
Total pressure accuracy      +/-10 Pa
Resolution                   0.1 Pa
Operating temperature range  -20° to +70°C
Interface                    RS-232C
External dimensions          25 x 25 x H20 mm (excluding fixtures)

Glossary

(1) QMEMS

QMEMS was coined by combining "Quartz" with "MEMS." QMEMS are fabricated on quartz, a crystalline material that has excellent stability and accuracy. Microfabrication processes such as photolithography, etching, metallization, sacrificial layers removal, etc. are used to produce extremely small crystal devices that still provide excellent performance.

QMEMS is a registered trademark of Epson Toyocom.

(2) Pa (pascal)

The SI unit of pressure. A 10-cm change in elevation results in an approximately 1 Pa change in barometric pressure.

(3) Bar

A unit of a pressure. One bar is equal to the pressure applied by the atmosphere to the surface of the earth at sea level (1 bar is nearly equal to 1 kg per sq cm).

About Epson Toyocom Corporation

Epson Toyocom Corporation (Epson Toyocom) is the global leader in quartz devices. Epson Toyocom maintains its leadership position through technological innovation and expertise in three critical device categories -- timing, sensing, and optical devices; and through the development of combinations of products in each of these segments. The company and its more than 12,000 employees market its products to customers worldwide through sales and marketing affiliates around the world including Epson Electronics America, Inc. in El Segundo, California.

About Epson Electronics America, Inc.

The Timing Products Business Unit of Epson Electronics America, Inc. (EEA) is the North American sales, marketing, and engineering arm of Epson Toyocom Corporation (Epson Toyocom) and provides a wide array of crystals, oscillators, real-time clock modules, SAW products, optical devices and gyro sensors. Based in El Segundo, California, the EEA group has more than 40 sales representative offices nationwide and a growing network of exclusive distributors. For more information, please visit www.eea.epson.com and click on the Epson Toyocom center box. Both Epson Toyocom and EEA are part of the Seiko Epson Group, which consists of 109 companies around the world.

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