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Proceedings Paper

Challenges of designing and processing extreme low-G microelectromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers
Author(s): Thomas P Swiler; Uma Krishnamoorthy; Peggy J. Clews; Michael S. Baker; Danelle M. Tanner
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Paper Abstract

There is an increasing demand to build highly sensitive, low-G, microscale acceleration sensors with the ability to sense accelerations in the nano-G (10-8 m/s2) regime. To achieve such sensitivities, these sensors require compliant mechanical springs attached to large masses. The high sensitivities and the difficulty in integrating robust mechanical stops into these designs make these parts inherently weak, lacking the robustness to survive even the low level accelerations encountered in standard handling, from release processing, where supporting interlayers present during fabrication are etched away, through packaging. Thus, the process of transforming a MEMS-based acceleration sensor from an unreleased state to a protected functional state poses significant challenges. We summarize prior experiences with packaging such devices and report on recent work in packaging and protecting a highly sensitive acceleration sensor that optically senses displacement through the use of sub-wavelength nanogratings. We find that successful implementation of such sensors requires starting with a clean and robust MEMS design, performing careful and controlled release processing, and designing and executing a robust handling and packaging solution that keeps a fragile MEMS device protected at all times.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 February 2008
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6884, Reliability, Packaging, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS VII, 68840O (14 February 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.778244
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas P Swiler, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Uma Krishnamoorthy, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Peggy J. Clews, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Michael S. Baker, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Danelle M. Tanner, Sandia National Labs. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6884:
Reliability, Packaging, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS VII
Allyson L. Hartzell; Rajeshuni Ramesham, Editor(s)

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