What is the difference between Capacitance and MEMS?

June 18, 2020

A variety of pressure sensor designs are available today. Two of the most common sensor types are MEMS and capacitive sensors.

MEMS stands for micro electromechanical system. MEMS sensors are any sensor manufactured using micro electric fabrication techniques. Because of their design, ambient electromagnetism and fluid dynamics are important to take into consideration as they affect the function of a MEMS sensor. Although MEMS are a popular choice, they are often not the best selection for OEM and other industrial applications.

Capacitance is the ability of an object to hold an electrical charge, and capacitive transducers measure changes in this electrical charge. Capacitive transducers are perhaps the closest thing to a universal pressure transducer style and can be used in an assortment of applications.

MEMS Sensors

Capacitive Transducers

Built using a common silicon substrate

  • Uses microfabrication technology to integrate sensors, actuators, mechanical elements, and electronics
  • Can be mass produced inexpensively while being small in size
Compact housing contains two closely spaced, parallel, electrically isolated metallic plates
  • Flex of plates measured by a sensitive linear comparator circuit
Performance limitations
  • Insensitivity
  • Inaccuracy
  • Signal draft
Performance advantages
  • Broad pressure range
  • Extremely low creep and aging effects
  • Excellent long-term stability
  • High overpressure ratings


Topics: General Industrial OEM, HVAC/R OEM, General Industrial, HVAC/R