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Proceedings Paper

Numerical simulation of a new generation of high-temperature micropower gas and odor sensors based on SOI technology
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Paper Abstract

Gas sensors fabricated using conventional silicon microtechnology can suffer from a number of significant disadvantages when compared with commercially available thick-film, screen-printed devices. For example, platinum gate MOSFET devices normally operate only at a temperature of up to 180 degree(s)C and this limits the catalyst activity, and hence their sensitivity and response time. In addition, the fabrication of an integrated, resistive heater poses interesting problems; thus whilst polysilicon heaters are CMOS compatible, they tend to suffer from non-linearity, poor reproducibility and stability; whereas platinum resistive heaters are incompatible with a CMOS process and thus difficult and expensive to manufacture. Here we propose the use of SOI technology leading to a new generation of high-temperature, silicon smart gas sensors (patent pending). Numerical simulations of an n-channel MOSFET structure on a thin SOI membrane have been performed in non- isothermal conditions using a MEDICI simulator. Our results demonstrate that SOI-based devices can operate at temperatures of up to 350 degree(s)C without causing a problem for neighboring CMOS I.C. circuitry. The power consumption of our SOI-based designs may be as low as ca. 10 mW at 300 degree(s)C and so compares favorably with previously reported values for non-SOI based silicon micromachined gas sensors. In conclusion, SOI technology may be used to fabricate novel high-temperature, micropower resistive and catalytic-gate MOSFET gas/odor sensors. These devices can be fabricated in a standard SOI CMOS process at low unit cost and should offer an excellent degree of reproducibility. Applications envisaged are in air quality sensors for the automotive industry and odor sensors for electronic noses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 1999
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3673, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Smart Electronics and MEMS, (20 July 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.354292
Show Author Affiliations
Julian W. Gardner, Univ. of Warwick (United Kingdom)
Florin Udrea, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
William I. Milne, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3673:
Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Smart Electronics and MEMS
Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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