Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB), a leader in high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal ICs, today introduced a new family of relative humidity (RH) and temperature sensors that simplify RH sensing designs while providing industry-leading power efficiency and ease of use. Silicon Labs’ second-generation RH sensing solution, the Si701x/2x sensors combine a standard CMOS mixed-signal IC with a proven technique of measuring humidity using a polymer dielectric film. The new family enables accurate RH sensing for home automation, HVAC, refrigeration, healthcare, remote monitoring, automotive and industrial equipment. When combined with Silicon Labs’ broad portfolio of energy-friendly microcontrollers and wireless ICs, the Si701x/2x family enables best-in-class solutions for measuring, controlling and reporting environmental conditions for a wide range of connected devices linked to the Internet of Things.
The Si701x/2x sensor family provides a superior alternative to legacy RH sensing approaches, which use discrete resistive or capacitive RH sensing elements along with analog circuits for temperature compensation and signal conditioning. These discrete solutions typically require a large bill of materials (BOM) and PCB area and suffer from lower reliability and risk of contamination. Customers also must perform RH/temperature calibration during PCB assembly, and discrete solutions are not compatible with surface-mount technology (SMT) manufacturing. RH sensor module suppliers have attempted to solve these manufacturing challenges, but they do so at a higher system cost and without improving reliability or risk of contamination.
In contrast to discrete approaches, the Si701x/2x monolithic ICs offer the highest ease of use while reducing manufacturing cost and complexity. The Si701x/2x family requires negligible BOM cost and is fully calibrated and SMT compatible. The integrated CMOS design provides the highest long-term reliability, and an optional filter cover provides added protection against contamination. The factory-installed cover – a Teflon membrane sealed at the top of the IC – protects the sensor not only during PCB assembly but also throughout the device’s entire lifetime, shielding the sensing element from dust, dirt and cleaning agents during operation.