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Proceedings Paper

Piezoresistive and piezoelectric MEMS strain sensors for vibration detection
Author(s): Stanley Kon; Kenn Oldham; Roberto Horowitz
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Paper Abstract

Both piezoresistive and piezoelectric materials are commonly used to detect strain caused by structural vibrations in macro-scale structures. With the increasing complexity and miniaturization of modern mechanical systems such as hard disk drive suspensions, it is imperative to explore the performance of these strain sensors when their dimensions must shrink along with those of the host structures. The miniaturized strain sensors must remain as small as possible so as to minimum their effect on structure dynamics, yet still have acceptable sensing resolution. The performances of two types of novel micro-scale strain gage for installation on stainless steel parts are compared in this paper. Micro-fabrication processes have been developed to build polycrystalline silicon piezoresistive strain sensors on a silicon substrate, which are later bonded to a steel substrate for testing. Piezoresistor geometries are optimized to effectively increase the gage factor of piezoresistive sensors while reducing sensor size. The advantage and disadvantage of these piezoresistors are compared to those of piezoelectric sensors. Experimental results reveal that the MEMS piezoelectric sensors are able to achieve a better resolution than piezoresistors, while piezoresistors can be built in much smaller areas. Both types of the MEMS strain sensors are capable of high sensitivity measurements, subject to differing constraints.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 April 2007
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6529, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2007, 65292V (10 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.715814
Show Author Affiliations
Stanley Kon, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Kenn Oldham, Army Research Lab. (United States)
Roberto Horowitz, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6529:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2007
Masayoshi Tomizuka; Chung-Bang Yun; Victor Giurgiutiu, Editor(s)

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