TDK discusses its latest MEMS-based CO2 gas sensor platform

TDK recently announced the InvenSense TCE-11101, a miniaturized, ultra-low power MEMS gas sensor platform for direct and accurate detection of carbon dioxide. The device introduces new technology as part of the new SmartEnviro family, and its small size and low power consumption enable battery-operated consumer and commercial devices in a variety of form factors. the TCE-11101 is available in a 5-x5-x1-mm 28-pin LGA package and requires very few external components to complete the design.

The InvenSense TCE-11101 is a miniaturized, ultra-low power MEMS gas sensor platform that provides direct and accurate detection of carbon dioxide.
The InvenSense TCE-11101 is a miniaturized, ultra-low-power MEMS gas sensor platform that provides direct and accurate detection of carbon dioxide.
The TCE-11101 uses novel technology that combines materials development and MEMS process technology with AI and machine learning capabilities to deliver a solution several orders of magnitude smaller than conventional sensors. In addition, it consumes less than 1 milliwatt of power. The device greatly expands the use cases for CO2 detection in a variety of new and existing applications where the "eCO2" solution does not currently provide the required performance.

To better understand the new sensor platform and what it means for design engineers, we spoke with Dr. Sreeni Rao, Senior Director of Emerging Business at InvenSense, a TDK Group company.

EE: So you have this new family of CO2 sensors supercritical co2 extraction machine, and they are MEMS-based, right?

Dr. Rao: Yes, our new SmartEnviro series is expected to cover our MEMS sensors in gas sensing and general environmental sensing. The first product we are launching is a MEMS-based CO2 sensor. What differentiates us is that we have an ultra-low power, very small solution and because we are based on a batch MEMS process, we expect the cost point to be quite competitive as well. We offer a performance advantage that other solutions that may have a cost-power advantage may not offer.

EE: Now, CO2 sensing Supercritical CO2 extraction machine.... There's a lot of room for application here, from residential room monitoring, to fermentation process management, all the way to agricultural sensing.

Dr. Rao: That's right.

EE: That's a lot of application space.

Dr. Rao: Yes, the space is definitely very fragmented. All of the applications you mentioned are suitable for MEMS sensors, for sure, but I would say that only some of those spaces or applications are really hurt by the lack of a solution that is competitive in terms of power consumption because of the space it takes up and, of course, in terms of cost.

For example, if you're talking about industrial applications in a secure environment, et cetera, where the number of deployments is very small, cost may not be a big consideration. And in the case of very small numbers, when access to wired power is available, power may not be an issue either.

But what the current solutions have done so far is that they have limited the availability of CO2 sensing to applications that are likely to use them if there is only one solution that performs well, which is low power, low cost, small deployable digital interfaces, etc. So what TDK is doing is really going into that gap, if you will, and providing a solution that has all of those advantages.

EE: So now, because it's so segmented, because there are so many ways to use CO2 sensing, what are the main application spaces that you initially intend to target?
R. Rao: The most logical and intuitive space to use CO2 sensing is indoor air quality management or indoor air quality monitoring, right? Whether it's your home, your apartment in Germany, or a kindergarten, or a school, or an office building. It's really important to monitor CO2 levels because, you know, any increase in CO2 levels in any living space can lead to ill health, and it can also lead to ...... In an office environment, for example, it contributes to lower productivity because concentration decreases due to CO2 levels. So it's important to monitor the CO2 levels and maybe be able to take some corrective measures like maybe... ... I don't know... ... Maybe open a window or -

EE: Turn on a fan.

Dr. Rao: Open a fan or open a vent or something. Right? So those are the applications that stand out the most. And one other thing I would point out is that with the increasing awareness of viral infections like COVID, for example. There's some reason to believe that an environment with high levels of CO2 could also be potentially unhealthy in other ways. So I think it's becoming more important to monitor the levels of gases around you, and CO2 seems to be one of the biggest culprits in that regard.

EE: Now, one of the reasons we mentioned agriculture is that