Pressure sensors are requisite for many medical implantable devices to monitor physiological pressures or fluid pressure and flow from a subsystem. Size, power consumption, accuracy, sensitivity, stability, and biocompatibility are all key considerations in the design and fabrication of such sensors. Conventional designs, based on piezoresistive technologies, are power consuming with significant drift and temperature error, whereas capacitive solutions are often cumbersome when packaged for biocompatibility. Tronics Microsystems has developed absolute pressure sensors, which achieve the benefits of both technologies. Miniaturization is achieved using a MEMS sensing element and a multifunction ASIC with small form factors. Low power consumption, low drift, high resolution, and waveform capture capability are obtained by using a capacitive MEMS coupled with a sigma-delta, direct capacitance to digital converter. Biocompatibility is achieved with grade II titanium packaging in two form factors (“tubular” or “pancake”) for incorporation into various applications. These sensors have been fabricated, calibrated, and tested extensively over physiologic temperature ranges. The design has achieved power consumption lower than 500ÂμW at 100 Hz and a drift lower than 0.5% full scale per year. An accuracy of +/1% full scale, over the temperature range is obtained by on-ASIC nonlinearity and temperature compensation. The two packaging configurations allow analysis of the trade-offs on the temperature range, sensitivity, volume, sterilization, etc. Different feed-through materials permit optimization of the form factors for the tube and the flat sensor and wired or wireless communication.

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