STMicroelectronics Unveils Thin-Film Piezoelectric MEMS Technology to Drive Growth in Customization and Personalization



Norway’s poLight® using the technology to revolutionize mobile-camera autofocus function

  • ST has developed a thin-film piezoelectric MEMS process platform that it is now commercializing, with volume ramp-up scheduled for mid-2015.
  • This process platform is customizable and ST can work with customers to co-develop specific process variations that are optimized for the customer’s particular application.
  • One of the first customers is poLight, who are using this technology to revolutionize the auto-focus function in cameras.

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, the world’s top MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) manufacturer and the leading supplier of MEMS for consumer and mobile applications, today  announced that it is commercializing its innovative piezoelectric MEMS technology. This innovation combines the Company’s long-established leadership in high-volume MEMS design and manufacturing with the many new application opportunities offered by piezoelectric[1] technology.  ST’s TFP (Thin-Film Piezoelectric) MEMS technology is a foundational process platform that can be readily customized, allowing ST to work with customers around the world to jointly develop specific MEMS products, optimized for particular applications.

One of the first customers to take advantage of ST’s TFP process is poLight, whose innovative TLens® (Tuneable Lens) uses a piezoelectric actuator to change the shape of a transparent polymer film, imitating the focussing function of the human eye.  This makes it the ideal solution for camera auto-focus (AF) applications, which up till now have mostly relied on large, power-hungry, and expensive Voice Coil Motors (VCM).

“Piezoelectric actuators and sensors can now be manufactured in our Agrate 8” Fab that has produced billions of motion sensors, taking full advantage of ST’s long-standing position as the world’s leading manufacturer of MEMS devices,” said Anton Hofmeister, Group Vice President and General Manager of Custom MEMS Division, STMicroelectronics.  “Our TFP MEMS technology rewrites the script, opening up new cost/benefit scenarios that will, in turn, enable many new applications.”

“poLight will use STMicroelectronics TFP MEMS technology to manufacture its TLens autofocus lens, a product that brings new camera autofocus performance to smartphones,” says Christian Dupont, poLight Chief Marketing Officer. “For example, TLens enables cameras to focus instantaneously, 10x faster for 20x lower battery consumption, as well as to refocus after taking the picture and implement stable continuous autofocus for video recording. This breakthrough combines poLight’s innovative technology and ST’s ability to optimize their TFP process to provide the required strong piezo actuator through a high-volume manufacturing process that is key for our smartphone customers.”

The pilot line for ST’s new TFP MEMS platform was partially funded by the European LAB4MEMS program. The technology has many important potential applications for actuators like inkjet printheads in Commercial, Industrial and 3D printing, but can also be used to develop piezo sensors in fields like energy harvesting.  ST is targeting volume production for its pilot customers in mid-2015.


About STMicroelectronics

ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power and automotive products and embedded processing solutions. From energy management and savings to trust and data security, from healthcare and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and office, at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a positive and innovative contribution to people’s life. By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2013, the Company’s net revenues were $8.08 billion. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.

Contact Information

STMicroelectronics

39, Chemin du Champ des Filles
C. P. 21 CH 1228 Plan-Les-Ouates
GENEVA ,
Switzerland

toll-free: +41 22 929 29 29
fax: +41 22 929 29 88

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