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Proceedings Paper

Numerical and experimental characterizations of piezoresistive MEMS strain sensors
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Paper Abstract

In this paper, new MEMS strain sensors are introduced. The transduction principle of the sensors is the resistance change due to piezoresistive property of polysilicon. Five different sensors are designed on the same device and tuned to resistance values of 350 Ω and 120 Ω. The sensors are aligned in horizontal, vertical and 45° directions in order to extract the principle strains. The geometry of the sensing element is a rectangular bar anchored at two ends and suspended above silicon substrate. The sensors are numerically modeled using COMSOL Multiphysics software. The model consists of all the micromachining layers, including silicon substrate, 0.7 μm thick polysilicon layer (sensing element) sandwiched between two layers of 0.35 μm thick silicon nitride layers and trenching under polysilicon layer, in order to estimate the strain that piezoresistive element is exposed to. The MEMS strain sensors are manufactured using MetalMUMPs process. The sensors are attached to aluminum and steel plates, and their gauge factors are compared with conventional foil gauges under uniaxial and biaxial loading. It is demonstrated that the MEMS strain sensors can detect both static and dynamic strains with the gauge factor reaching significantly high values. High gauge factor occurs because of unique geometry design and trenching, which amplify the strain that the polysilicon layer senses. The MEMS strain sensor can be fused with other sensing elements on the same device such as accelerometer, acoustic emission in order to have redundant measurement from a single point.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9061, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2014, 90612G (8 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2044922
Show Author Affiliations
Hossain Saboonchi, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago (United States)
Didem Ozevin, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9061:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2014
Jerome P. Lynch; Kon-Well Wang; Hoon Sohn, Editor(s)

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