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14 visualizzazioni8 pagineA three-axis capacitive accelerometer based on silicon-on-insulator is designed and fabricated. In the
accelerometer, totally eight groups of capacitors are compactly arranged around an octagonal proof mass. The four groups of capacitors along orthogonal direction with in-plane comb electrodes detect XY acceleration, while the other four groups of capacitors along diagonal direction with vertical comb electrodes detect Z acceleration. Measurements of in-plane and vertical motion by the respective
in-plane and vertical comb electrodes enable direct detection for all the three axes with differential capacitive sensing scheme. For the fabricated accelerometer in the size of 4x4 mm2, the capacitance sensitivities of in-plane and out-of-plane accelerometers are 145.3 and 9.1 fF/g, respectively.

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A three-axis capacitive accelerometer based on silicon-on-insulator is designed and fabricated. In the
accelerometer, totally eight groups of capacitors are compactly arranged around an octagonal proof mass. The four groups of capacitors along orthogonal direction with in-plane comb electrodes detect XY acceleration, while the other four groups of capacitors along diagonal direction with vertical comb electrodes detect Z acceleration. Measurements of in-plane and vertical motion by the respective
in-plane and vertical comb electrodes enable direct detection for all the three axes with differential capacitive sensing scheme. For the fabricated accelerometer in the size of 4x4 mm2, the capacitance sensitivities of in-plane and out-of-plane accelerometers are 145.3 and 9.1 fF/g, respectively.

© All Rights Reserved

14 visualizzazioni

00 mi piace00 non mi piace

A three-axis capacitive accelerometer based on silicon-on-insulator is designed and fabricated. In the
accelerometer, totally eight groups of capacitors are compactly arranged around an octagonal proof mass. The four groups of capacitors along orthogonal direction with in-plane comb electrodes detect XY acceleration, while the other four groups of capacitors along diagonal direction with vertical comb electrodes detect Z acceleration. Measurements of in-plane and vertical motion by the respective
in-plane and vertical comb electrodes enable direct detection for all the three axes with differential capacitive sensing scheme. For the fabricated accelerometer in the size of 4x4 mm2, the capacitance sensitivities of in-plane and out-of-plane accelerometers are 145.3 and 9.1 fF/g, respectively.

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DOI 10.1007/s00542-011-1393-9

TECHNICAL PAPER

and vertical comb electrodes

Jin Xie Rahul Agarwal Youhe Liu

Received: 10 September 2011 / Accepted: 1 December 2011 / Published online: 15 December 2011

Springer-Verlag 2011

Abstract A three-axis capacitive accelerometer based on Dong et al. 2005). The use of SOI wafers in implementing

silicon-on-insulator is designed and fabricated. In the capacitive accelerometers has various advantages such as

accelerometer, totally eight groups of capacitors are com- superior material properties of a single crystal material,

pactly arranged around an octagonal proof mass. The four easily achieved high-aspect-ratio microstructures, good

groups of capacitors along orthogonal direction with mechanical stability, less residual stress and simple fabri-

in-plane comb electrodes detect XY acceleration, while the cation processes. Meanwhile, accelerometers based on thick

other four groups of capacitors along diagonal direction with SOI substrate have heavy proof mass and thus low Brownian

vertical comb electrodes detect Z acceleration. Measure- noise floor. Interdigitated in-plane comb electrodes are

ments of in-plane and vertical motion by the respective mostly used to detect in-plane acceleration. For out-of-plane

in-plane and vertical comb electrodes enable direct detection accelerometer, it remains a challenge to realize Z-axis dif-

for all the three axes with differential capacitive sensing ferential capacitive electrodes for monolithic integration of

scheme. For the fabricated accelerometer in the size of three-axis accelerometer on the SOI wafer. Matsumoto et al.

4 9 4 mm2, the capacitance sensitivities of in-plane and out- (1999) demonstrated an SOI three-axis capacitive acceler-

of-plane accelerometers are 145.3 and 9.1 fF/g, respectively. ometer, in which the whole handle layer was used as the

bottom electrode of the Z accelerometer, but the handle layer

also formed an unwanted capacitor with the in-plane comb

1 Introduction fingers, which caused large parasitic capacitance. Further-

more, the differential capacitive sensing was not available in

Compared to piezoelectric and thermal accelerometers, their Z-axis accelerometer. Hsu et al. (2009) presented a SOI

capacitive accelerometers are more popular for applications Z-axis differential capacitive accelerometer, where the small

on automotive and consumer electronics due to their high sensing gap between the capacitor plates of device layer and

sensitivity, good temperature performance, low cost and handle layer was created by removing buried oxide of SOI

easy integration with CMOS (Xie et al. 2008). Accelerom- wafer. The electrical interconnection was realized by man-

eters based on bulk micromachining, especially on silicon- ually dispensing silver paste between device and handle

on-insulator (SOI) wafers, have been widely developed silicon layers, which made the design difficult to be applied

(Brosnihan et al. 1997; Chen et al. 2005; Xie et al. 2011; in batch fabrication. Hsu et al. (2010) fabricated a silicon-on-

glass (SOG) three-axis accelerometer, in which the authors

integrated in-plane and out-of-plane accelerometers into a

J. Xie R. Agarwal Y. Liu J. M. Tsai

single sensing structure to achieve small size, and made the

Institute of Microelectronics, A*STAR (Agency for Science,

Technology and Research), 11 Science Park Road, unbalanced proof mass as the outer frame of the in-plane

Singapore 117685, Singapore accelerometers to enhance the output of Z-axis sensing.

Vertical comb electrodes, which are composed of high and

J. Xie (&)

low comb fingers, were utilized to detect Z-axis acceleration

Mechanical Engineering Department, Berkeley Sensor and

Actuator Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA on SOI wafer with differential capacitive scheme by Tsuchiya

e-mail: jinxie@berkeley.edu; xiejin@hotmail.com and Funabashi (2004) and Hamaguchi et al. (2007). But in

123

326 Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332

their three-axis accelerometers, both the out-of-plane and comb and stationary comb is not even (d1 6 d2 ) in the

in-plane motions were detected by the same group of in-plane comb electrodes. The other four groups of capacitors

vertical comb electrodes, so the sensitivity must be (CA , CB , CC and CD ) along diagonal direction are vertical

decoupled for each of the three axes, and consequently the comb electrodes and detect Z acceleration. To realize dif-

capacitive sensitivities for all the three axes were reduced. ferential capacitive sensing scheme in Z-axis, in CA and CB ,

In this paper, we presents an improved three-axis the moving electrodes are lower than the stationary elec-

capacitive SOI accelerometer which detects acceleration trodes, while in CC and CD , the moving electrodes are

with both in-plane and vertical comb electrodes. In the higher. Different from the designs by Tsuchiya and Fun-

accelerometer, totally eight groups of capacitors are abashi (2004) and Hamaguchi et al. (2007), the vertical

compactly arranged around an octagonal proof mass. comb electrodes of the presented accelerometer have even

XY acceleration is detected by the four groups of capacitors gaps (d0 ) between the moving and stationary fingers, which

along orthogonal direction with in-plane comb electrodes, helps minimize zero-g offset when modulation voltage is

while Z acceleration is detected by the other four groups of applied to the capacitors.

capacitors with vertical comb electrodes. In-plane and out- For a capacitor plate, the capacitance and its change

of-plane accelerations are measured by the respective in- against small displacement are written as:

plane and vertical comb electrodes, which enables direct

detection for all the three axes with differential capacitive lh h l lh

Ce ; DC e Dl e Dh e 2 Dd 1

sensing scheme and thus high sensitivity. d d d d

where e is dielectric constant, and l, h and d are length,

2 Design and simulation height and gap of electrode, respectively. The capacitance

changes of XY in-plane accelerometer are derived as:

The presented SOI accelerometer consists of two pairs of

1 1

folded springs with a common octagonal proof mass in the DCx Cx1 Cx2 DCx1 DCx2 2elh 2 2 Dx

d1 d2

center, as shown in Fig 1. There are totally eight groups of

capacitors connected with the octagonal proof mass. The 2

four groups of capacitors (Cx1 , Cx2 , Cy1 and Cy2 ) along 1 1

orthogonal direction are in-plane comb electrodes and DCy Cy1 Cy2 DCy1 DCy2 2elh Dy

d12 d22

detect XY acceleration. Cx1 and Cx2 are one pair of differ-

3

ential capacitors for X accelerometer, and Cy1 and Cy2 the

other pair of differential capacitors for Y accelerometer. To Z-axis acceleration is measured by vertical comb electrodes

achieve high capacitive sensitivity, the gap between moving in differential scheme by decomposing capacitance of CA , CB ,

presented three-axis

accelerometer

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Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332 327

coordinate system, which is 45o apart from XY coordinate

system. When the displacement is along positive direction When the proof mass vibrates in both positive and

of abZ axes, we have the following equations negative directions, capacitance change is only determined

(Hamaguchi et al. 2007): by displacement along Z-axis, as shown in the following

equations:

lh lh l

DCA e 2

Da e 2 Da 0 4 DCz CA CB CC CD 4e Dz 10

d0 d0 d0

lh lh

DCB e 2

Da e 2 Da 0 5 As indicated in the Equations of (2), (3) and (10), DCx ,

d0 d0

DCy and DCz only rely on the displacements of Dx, Dy and

l lh l lh Dz, so there is ideally no cross-sensitivity between each

DCC e Dz e 2 Db e Dz e 2 Db

d0 d0 d0 d0 two axes.

l The finite element analysis (FEA) was done in Coven-

2e Dz 6 torWare 2010, and the finite element models are shown in

d0

Fig. 2. To avoid extremely long simulation time, the per-

l lh l lh forating holes in the proof mass are ignored in the model,

DCD e Dz e 2 Db e Dz e 2 Db

d0 d0 d0 d0 and the weight of proof mass is compensated through

l changing the density of proof mass. The design parameters

2e Dz 7

d0 and simulated results are summarized in Table 1. In the

presented accelerometer, squeeze damping is dominant

Similarly, if the displacement is along the negative

over the slide-film damping. For in-plane motion, the

direction, we have

squeeze damping occurs when the movable electrodes

l moves towards the stationary electrodes, while for out-of-

DCA DCB 2e Dz 8

d0 plane motion, the squeeze damping is from the gap change

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328 Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332

Q 11

Parameter X and Y axes Z-axis D

1

Sensing area (mm) 494 f 12

2Q

Proof mass weight (kg) 3.1 9 10-7

Spring constant (N/m) 20.6 39.1 where Q is quality factor, M is the proof mass, D is the

Resonant frequency (Hz) 1,189 1,635 damping coefficient, f is the damping ratio, the quality

Electrode height (lm) 50 50/25 factor Q for in-plane vibration is 0.45 and damping ratio f

Electrode length (lm) 160 is 1.1, which means that the in-plane vibration is over

Electrode gap (lm) 2/5 3.5 damped. With the same simulation procedure, the damping

No. of electrodes 140 320 ratio f for the out-of-plane accelerometer is 0.9, which

Static capacitance (pF) 5.9 3.2 means that the out-of-plane vibration is also over damped.

Capacitance sensitivity (fF/g) 160.0 12.0

Damping ratio 1.1 0.9

3 Fabrication

thick device layer, and the process flow is shown in Fig. 3.

between the proof mass and the substrate. The simulation The SOI is p-type boron doped with resistivity of

of damping is conducted in the Damping MM solver of 0.01 X cm. Firstly, 0.7 lm aluminium is deposited by

CoventorWare 2010. For each pair of comb fingers in in- sputtering and patterned as pads for wire bonding. Sec-

plane electrodes, damping coefficient is 2.97 9 10-5. ondly, 1 lm SiO2 is deposited by plasma-enhanced

Totally there are 140 pairs of in-plane comb fingers, so the chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and patterned as hard

squeeze damping coefficient caused by in-plane motion is mask to define the structure, and 4 lm thick photoresist is

4.17 9 10-3. The squeeze damping from the 320 pairs of used as the second mask to form the vertical comb elec-

vertical comb electrodes is 0.84 9 10-3. According to the trodes with self-alignment technology, as shown in steps 3

following equations: and 4. In the first deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE), the

for the accelerometer with

vertical electrodes

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Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332 329

silicon etching depth is 25 lm. After photoresist stripping, octagonal proof mass is located in the center, and sensing

the second DRIE is done to etch the remaining 25 lm capacitors and springs are arranged around each side of the

silicon. Finally, the device is released in vapor hydrofluoric proof mass: four groups of in-plane electrodes, as well as

acid (HF). Different from buffered hydrofluoric acid (BHF) four pairs of spring are along the orthogonal direction, and

wet etchant, vapor HF does not attack aluminum pads, and four groups of vertical electrodes along the triangle direction.

the structures are released without stiction. The released proof mass is shown in Fig. 5. Figure 6 shows

The fabricated accelerometer in the size of 4 9 4 mm2 the cross section of the vertical electrodes. The cross sec-

is shown in Fig. 4. The proof mass, springs, in-plane combs tion is obtained by cutting a normal silicon wafer, which is

and vertical combs were successfully fabricated. In the processed with the same conditions as SOI wafer. The

vertical comb electrodes, the lower electrodes are shown higher electrode is 50 lm while the lower electrode is

with very shallow gray color because they are out of focus 25 lm. The sidewall of the electrode is not perfectly

by 25 lm when observed in optical microscope. The vertical, which makes the gap not uniform. The reason is

that after second step of DRIE, one more cycle of isotropic

etching is added to remove needle-like residue at the edges

of the lower height electrodes, as shown in Fig. 7. The

needle-like residue in the vertical electrodes may have been

caused in the following process: the sidewall formed by the

first DRIE is quickly passivated at the beginning of the

Fig. 4 The fabricated three-axis accelerometer Fig. 5 Device on SOI wafer is successfully released in vapor HF

123

330 Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332

second DRIE; these passivation reagents may act as the The capacitive signal from the accelerometer under testing

mask for second DRIE, which causes the formation of is converted to voltage by using a commercial universal

needle-shaped residue (Tsuchiya and Funabashi 2004). To capacitive readout IC (MS3110 by Irvine Sensors Cor-

remove the needle-like residue, one more cycle of isotropic poration, USA), which has a low capacitive noise of

p

etching is added after second DRIE. However, the extra 4aF Hz. The input acceleration is monitored by a ref-

cycle of isotropic etching causes silicon loss of the lower erence commercial accelerometer (ADI ADXL335), which

electrodes, which makes the top side of the electrode a little is mounted together with the accelerometer under testing,

smaller than the bottom side, as shown in Fig. 6b, and as shown in Fig. 9. The output voltage in the time domain

results in a reduced sensitivity. is displaced and recorded by an oscilloscope, and the fre-

quency response is measured by a dynamic system ana-

lyzer. In the range of 3 g, the sensitivity is 290.6 mV/g

4 Testing for the in-plane axis (X or Y), while only 18.2 mV/g for the

out-of-plane axis (Z), as shown in Fig. 10. With 2 V/pF

The block diagram of testing setup for characterization of gain of the MS3110 readout IC, we know that the capaci-

the fabricated accelerometer is shown in Fig. 8. A shaker, tance sensitivities for in-plane and out-of-plane acceler-

a function generator and a power amplifier are used to ometer are 145.3 and 9.1 fF/g, respectively. Due to silicon

provide a base motion to excite the packaged accelerometer. undercut by DRIE, the actual gap of the comb fingers is

larger than the values used in simulation, which makes the

measured sensitivity lower than the simulated value.

However, compared with the sensitivity of Z-axis reported

in the previously published works, i.e. 1.14 (Tsuchiya and

Funabashi 2004) and 1.3 fF/g (Hamaguchi et al. 2007), the

Fig. 7 Needle-like residue in the vertical electrodes Fig. 8 Block diagram of the test setup

testing, capacitive readout IC

and commercial reference

accelerometer

123

Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332 331

Parameter In-plane Out-of-plane

axes (X or Y) axis (Z)

Bandwidth (Hz) 60 80

Voltage sensitivity (mV/g) 290.6 18.2

Capacitance sensitivity (fF/g) 145.3 9.1

Static sensing capacitance (pF) 5.5 2.7

Nonlinearity (%) 0.5 2.3

line to the full scale output, is measured as 0.5% for the in-

Fig. 10 Sensitivity of the fabricated three-axis accelerometer plane accelerometer, and 2.3% for the out-of-plane

accelerometer. The large nonlinearity of out-of-plane

accelerometer is down to the poor profile of the vertical

electrodes. The frequency response is measured by

sweeping sine signal from 10 to 3,000 Hz, as presented in

Fig. 11. The resonant frequency for the in-plane acceler-

ometer is 1,160 Hz, and for the out-of-plane accelerometer

1,676 Hz. Both the measured resonant frequencies are

lower than the simulation results. The possible reason is

the undercut during the DRIE etching which reduces the

spring constant. With the roll-off frequency set in the low

pass filter of the readout IC, the -3 dB frequency occurs at

60 Hz for in-plane accelerometer and 80 Hz for out-of-

plane accelerometer. Table 2 summarizes the measured

performance for the fabricated accelerometer.

5 Conclusions

designed and fabricated. The proof mass of the presented

accelerometer is octagonal shape, and eight groups of

capacitors are arranged around each side of the proof mass

to achieve a compact design. XY acceleration is detected by

four groups of in-plane comb electrodes along orthogonal

direction, while Z acceleration is detected by the other four

groups of vertical comb electrodes along the triangle

direction. The vertical comb electrodes are fabricated by

micromachining with double layer masks with time-

controlled DRIE process to realize different heights of the

comb fingers. Differential capacitive sensing scheme of all

the three axes allows us to accurately measure linear

capacitance change against input acceleration. The size of

the fabricated accelerometer is 4 9 4 mm2 and the mea-

Fig. 11 Frequency response for the fabricated accelerometer sured sensitivities of in-plane axis and out-of-plane axis are

145.3 and 9.1 fF/g, respectively.

Z-axis sensitivity of the presented accelerometer has

been greatly improved. The nonlinearity, which is defined Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Pavel Neuzil

as the ratio of the maximum deviation from the best fit for his support on layout of mask.

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332 Microsyst Technol (2012) 18:325332

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