CMOS magnetic sensors with integrated ferromagnetic parts
The paper deals with Hall and flux-gate magnetic field sensors consisting of integrated combination of CMOS ASICs and planar ferromagnetic components. Ferromagnetic parts are made of a soft amorphous alloy, integrated at the CMOS wafer in a post-processing production phase. When the sensors are exposed to an in-plane magnetic field, under the peripheries of ferromagnetic parts appears a strong magnetic induction perpendicular to the wafer surface. This perpendicular field is sensed either by Hall plates or planar coils. In the case of Hall magnetic sensors, such ferromagnetic parts give a magnetic gain of 2–10. Compared to conventional integrated Hall magnetic sensors, the new sensors have up to 10 times higher magnetic resolution and they respond to a magnetic field parallel with the surface of the chip. They are used as current sensors or angular position sensors. In the case of flux-gate sensors, both the saturation-forcing coil and the pick-up coils are realized as planar coils, using metallization layers that exist in the CMOS process. The integrated flux-gate technology is illustrated by a low-power two-axis magnetic field sensor suitable for a portable electronic compass.