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Content archived on 2024-05-07

Wafer scale high performance magnetic Sensors based on the magnetic Tunnel effect


Objectives and content
Position and field detection constitutes a key element in
the control systems in many industrial automation
machines, such as robots, machine tools, and in products
such as cars, white goods, consumer electronics etc. A
large variety of technical solutions have been developed
such as optical incremental and absolute encoders, Hall
elements, resistance potentiometers, aniso-tropic
magnetoresistive sensors, etc. These techniques are
often rather limited in their scope of application
because of either their complexity, size, price, poor
robustness in harsh conditions or limited span of the
detection parameter.
More recently GMR (Giant MagnetoResistive ) based sensors
have recently been introduced into this field across a
very broad front. These somewhat lower cost sensors are
fabricated using microelectronic batch-processing
manufacturing technology and are offered as general
purpose standard component on the market for are wide
variety of applications. GMR sensors are also replacing
the optical parts in fancy encoders. The main advantages
of these sensors are their contact-less operation giving
complete encapsulation and insensitivity to contamination
and resistance to aggressive environmental conditions
plus high reliability, no wear and long live span.
Magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) sensors, the subject of
this project, also offer the same advantages as GMR
sensors but importantly offer significant additional
advantages such as:
three to five time higher signals strength,
higher accuracy through better controlled of the shape
of the response, and
even lower costs.
The small lateral size of the MTJ elements make sensor
systems composed of matrices of elements feasible.
The project is organized into three Work Packages:
The exploration and development of the tunnel effect to
provide different types of magnetic tunnel barriers
The development of the single sensor elements for
linear and angle detection
The development of three different demonstrator units
to evaluate opportunities for implementation in systems
such as cars/consumer products, encoders and avionics.
The Consortium consists of three Industrial Companies:
Siemens (DE) and Thomson (FR) leading producers of
electrical systems and components and Selet(I) an SME
that manufactures encoders. The project goals will be
underpinned by the work of three leading laboratories in
the field: IPCMS (University of Strasbourg), the
University of Nijmegen and the University of Augsburg.

Call for proposal

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Participants (6)