This paper aims to propose and demonstrate novel microphone sensors based on the frequency delta-sigma modulation (FDSM) technique, which replaces the conventional delta-sigma modulator in the delta-sigma analog-to digital converters. A key of the FDSM technology is to use a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) for converting an input analog signal to a 1-bit pulse-density modulated digital signal. High-performance sensors can be realized if the VCO is replaced by an oscillator whose oscillation frequency depends on an external physical parameter.
Microphone sensors are proposed based on FDSM that uses a suspended microstrip disk resonator, where the backside ground plane is replaced by a thin metal diaphragm. A resonant tunneling diode (RTD) oscillator is also used, as the performance of these sensors significantly depends on the oscillation frequency. To demonstrate the basic operation of the proposal, prototype devices were fabricated with an InGaAs/AlAs RTD.
A satisfactory noise shaping property, which is a significant nature of delta-sigma modulation, was demonstrated over three decades for the prototype device. A sound-sensing peak was also clearly observed when applying 1 kHz sound from a speaker.
High-performance ultrasonic microphone sensors can be realized if the sensors are fabricated by using a thin InP substrate with high-frequency oscillator design.
In this study, the authors proposed and experimentally demonstrated novel microphone sensors, which are promising as future ultrasonic sensors that have high dynamic range with wide bandwidth.
The authors would like to thank Mr Kazuhiko Ueda for his help in fabricating the devices. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 18H01495, and the VLSI Design and Education Center (VDEC), the University of Tokyo in collaboration with Keysight Technologies Japan, Ltd. A part of this work was carried out under Cooperative Research Project Program of the Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University.
Maezawa, K., Ito, T. and Mori, M. (2020), "Delta-sigma modulation microphone sensors employing a resonant tunneling diode with a suspended microstrip resonator", Sensor Review, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 535-542. https://doi.org/10.1108/SR-03-2020-0044
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