It has been about 150 years since the birth of sensors in the 1860s. Today, with the rapid development of the Internet of Things industry, more and higher requirements have been put forward for sensor technology. The McKinsey report pointed out that by 2025, the economic benefits brought by the Internet of Things will be between 2.7 trillion and 6.2 trillion U.S. dollars. As an important entry point for data collection at the sensing layer of the Internet of Things, sensors will inevitably also be connected. The next few years will usher in explosive growth.
What is a sensor? The sensor is a detection device composed of a sensitive element and a conversion element, which can feel the measurement, and can convert the detected and sensed information into an electrical signal (voltage, current, frequency or phase, etc.) according to a certain rule Output, and finally provide a data source for data analysis and artificial intelligence applications of the Internet of Things.
At present, the global sensor market is dominated by several leading companies in the United States, Japan and Germany. There are about 22,000 kinds of sensors in the world, and China already has about 7,000 kinds of conventional types and varieties, and more than 90% of high-end sensors still rely heavily on imports, and digital, intelligent, and miniaturized sensors are seriously lacking.
At present, the main technical research direction of domestic sensors is MEMS (Micro Mechanical Electronic System), which integrates microprocessors and sensors into one, making it an intelligent data terminal device with environmental perception, data processing, intelligent control and data communication functions. In microelectronics, the smaller the feature size of the integrated circuit means the higher the integration of the device, the faster the running speed, and the better the performance. The smaller the size of the sensor in the Internet of Things system also means that the system is deployed. It is more convenient and better in performance. But at the same time, the hardware requirements are even higher. The core of it is the sensor chip. At present, there are few large-scale sensor manufacturers in China, mainly small and medium-sized manufacturers. The chip materials are mainly FR-4 substrates and aluminum substrates. However, in developed countries, ceramic circuit boards have been used on a large scale. Ceramic substrates have better stability, better insulation, and ultra-high thermal conductivity. They have become the jewel in the palm of world-class sensor manufacturers.
There is still a certain gap between domestic sensors and foreign technologies, but we can't just look at the technology, we have to upgrade the hardware at the same time, after all, the hardware is the foundation. The current development of domestic ceramic circuit boards is also very rapid. The main technologies include thin film technology, thick film technology, screen printing technology, DPC technology (direct copper coating technology) and the latest LAM technology (laser rapid metal activation technology). LAM technology is currently the most advanced ceramic circuit board processing technology, which can be assembled with high density, and the line/spacing (L/S) resolution can reach 20μm, so as to realize the short, small, light and thin equipment. It is the best choice to promote MEMS in China.
At present, because the domestic Internet of Things is still in the initial stage, there is no effective communication between many hardware and terminal vendors, many manufacturers have no way to guide them, and terminal manufacturers have not received effective information. In the context of China's vast land and resources, manufacturers can no longer stick to the rules. They must go out, bring in, and apply higher-end hardware to drive technological innovation in the entire industrial chain.