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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Robert Bogue

The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and their commercialisation and to consider a number of recent…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and their commercialisation and to consider a number of recent applications, markets and product developments.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an introduction and a brief historical background to MEMS sensors and their commercialisation, the paper describes a selection of recent applications, with an emphasis on high volume uses. Various market figures are included to place these applications in a commercial context. Sensors for both physical variables and gases are considered.

Findings

The paper shows that MEMS sensor applications continue to grow in the automotive, consumer electronics and other industries, which consume many millions of sensors annually. New product developments reflect the requirement for smaller and lower-cost sensors with enhanced performance and greater functionality. Markets for physical sensors dominate but MEMS technology is making progressive inroads in the gas sensing field.

Originality/value

This article provides a timely review of a selection of recent MEMS sensor applications, markets and product developments.

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2016

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide details of MEMS (micro-electromechanical system) sensors produced from materials other than silicon.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide details of MEMS (micro-electromechanical system) sensors produced from materials other than silicon.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a short introduction, this first considers reasons for using alternatives to silicon. It then discusses MEMS sensor products and research involving sapphire, quartz, silicon carbide and aluminium nitride. It then considers polymer and paper MEMS sensor developments and concludes with a brief discussion.

Findings

MEMS sensors based on the “hard” materials are well-suited to very-high-temperature- and precision-sensing applications. Some have been commercialised and there is a strong, on-going body of research. Polymer MEMS sensors are attracting great interest from the research community and have the potential to yield devices for both physical and molecular sensing that are inexpensive and simple to fabricate. The prospects for paper MEMS remain unclear but the technology may ultimately find uses in ultra-low-cost sensing of low-magnitude mechanical variables.

Originality/value

This provides a technical insight into the increasingly important role played by MEMS sensors fabricated from materials other than silicon.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2019

Yaser Javed, Mohtashim Mansoor and Irtiza Ali Shah

Pressure, being one of the key variables investigated in scientific and engineering research, requires critical and accurate measurement techniques. With the advancements…

Abstract

Purpose

Pressure, being one of the key variables investigated in scientific and engineering research, requires critical and accurate measurement techniques. With the advancements in materials and machining technologies, there is a large leap in the measurement techniques including the development of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors. These sensors are one to two orders smaller in magnitude than traditional sensors and combine electrical and mechanical components that are fabricated using integrated circuit batch-processing technologies. MEMS are finding enormous applications in many industrial fields ranging from medical to automotive, communication to electronics, chemical to aviation and many more with a potential market of billions of dollars. MEMS pressure sensors are now widely used devices owing to their intrinsic properties of small size, light weight, low cost, ease of batch fabrication and integration with an electronic circuit. This paper aims to identify and analyze the common pressure sensing techniques and discuss their uses and advantages. As per our understanding, usage of MEMS pressure sensors in the aerospace industry is quite limited due to cost constraints and indirect measurement approaches owing to the inability to locate sensors in harsh environments. The purpose of this study is to summarize the published literature for application of MEMS pressure sensors in the said field. Five broad application areas have been investigated including: propulsion/turbomachinery applications, turbulent flow diagnosis, experimentalaerodynamics, micro-flow control and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/micro aerial vehicle (MAV) applications.

Design/methodology/approach

The first part of the paper deals with an introduction to MEMS pressure sensors and mathematical relations for its fabrication. The second part covers pressure sensing principles followed by the application of MEMS pressure sensors in five major fields of aerospace industry.

Findings

In this paper, various pressure sensing principles in MEMS and applications of MEMS technology in the aerospace industry have been reviewed. Five application fields have been investigated including: Propulsion/Turbomachinery applications, turbulent flow diagnosis, experimental aerodynamics, micro-flow control and UAV/MAV applications. Applications of MEMS sensors in the aerospace industry are quite limited due to requirements of very high accuracy, high reliability and harsh environment survivability. However, the potential for growth of this technology is foreseen due to inherent features of MEMS sensors’ being light weight, low cost, ease of batch fabrication and capability of integration with electric circuits. All these advantages are very relevant to the aerospace industry. This work is an endeavor to present a comprehensive review of such MEMS pressure sensors, which are used in the aerospace industry and have been reported in recent literature.

Originality/value

As per the author’s understanding, usage of MEMS pressure sensors in the aerospace industry is quite limited due to cost constraints and indirect measurement approaches owing to the inability to locate sensors in harsh environments. Present work is a prime effort in summarizing the published literature for application of MEMS pressure sensors in the said field. Five broad application areas have been investigated including: propulsion/turbomachinery applications, turbulent flow diagnosis, experimental aerodynamics, micro-flow control and UAV/MAV applications.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 January 2007

Robert Bogue

To describe the historical development of micro‐electromechanical system (MEMS) sensor technology, to consider its current use in physical, gas and chemical sensing and to…

Abstract

Purpose

To describe the historical development of micro‐electromechanical system (MEMS) sensor technology, to consider its current use in physical, gas and chemical sensing and to identify and discuss future technological trends and directions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper identifies the early research which led to the development of MEMS sensors. It considers subsequent applications of MEMS to physical, gas and chemical sensing and discusses recent technological innovations.

Findings

This paper illustrates the greatly differing impacts exerted on physical, gas and chemical sensing by MEMS technology. More recent developments are discussed which suggest strong market prospects for MEMS devices with analytical capabilities such as microspectrometers, micro‐GCs, microfluidics, lab‐on‐a‐chip and BioMEMS. This view is supported by various market data and forecasts.

Originality/value

This paper provides a technical and commercial insight into the applications of MEMS technology to physical and molecular sensors from the 1960s to the present day. It also identifies high growth areas for innovative developments in the technology.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2020

Zoheir Kordrostami, Kourosh Hassanli and Amir Akbarian

The purpose of this study is to find a new design that can increase the sensitivity of the sensor without sacrificing the linearity. A novel and very efficient method for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to find a new design that can increase the sensitivity of the sensor without sacrificing the linearity. A novel and very efficient method for increasing the sensitivity of MEMS pressure sensor has been proposed for the first time. Rather than perforation, we propose patterned thinning of the diaphragm so that specific regions on it are thinner. This method allows the diaphragm to deflect more in response with regard to the pressure. The best excavation depth has been calculated and a pressure sensor with an optimal pattern for thinned regions has been designed. Compared to the perforated diaphragm with the same pattern, larger output voltage is achieved for the proposed sensor. Unlike the perforations that have to be near the edges of the diaphragm, it is possible for the thin regions to be placed around the center of the diaphragm. This significantly increases the sensitivity of the sensor. In our designation, we have reached a 60 per cent thinning (of the diaphragm area) while perforations larger than 40 per cent degrade the operation of the sensor. The proposed method is applicable to other MEMS sensors and actuators and improves their ultimate performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Instead of perforating the diaphragm, we propose a patterned thinning scheme which improves the sensor performance.

Findings

By using thinned regions on the diaphragm rather than perforations, the sensitivity of the sensor was improved. The simulation results show that the proposed design provides larger membrane deflections and higher output voltages compared to the pressure sensors with a normal or perforated diaphragm.

Originality/value

The proposed MEMS piezoelectric pressure sensor for the first time takes advantage of thinned diaphragm with optimum pattern of thinned regions, larger outputs and larger sensitivity compared with the simple or perforated diaphragm pressure sensors.

Details

Microelectronics International, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-5362

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

A. Arshak, K. Arshak, G. Lyons, D. Waldron, D. Morris, O. Korostynska and E. Jafer

Telemetry capsules have existed since the 1950s and were used to measure temperature, pH or pressure inside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It was hoped that these…

Abstract

Purpose

Telemetry capsules have existed since the 1950s and were used to measure temperature, pH or pressure inside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It was hoped that these capsules would replace invasive techniques in the diagnosis of function disorders in the GI tract. However, problems such as signal loss and uncertainty of the pills position limited their use in a clinical setting. In this paper, a review of the capabilities of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for the fabrication of a wireless pressure sensor microsystem is presented.

Design/methodology/approach

The circuit requirements and methods of data transfer are examined. The available fabrication methods for MEMS sensors are also discussed and examples of wireless sensors are given. Finally, the drawbacks of using this technology are examined.

Findings

MEMS for use in wireless monitoring of pressure in the GI tract have been investigated. It has been shown that capacitive pressure sensors are particularly suitable for this purpose. Sensors fabricated for wireless continuous monitoring of pressure have been reviewed. Great progress, especially using surface micromachining, has been made in recent years. However, despite these advances, some challenges remain.

Originality/value

Provides a review of the capabilities of MEMS.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2019

Pavel Baranov, Tamara Nesterenko, Evgenii Barbin, Aleksej Koleda, Shuji Tanaka, Takashiro Tsukamoto, Ivan Kulinich, Dmitry Zykov and Alexander Shelupanov

Technological capabilities of manufacturing microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gyroscopes are still insufficient if compared to manufacturing high-efficient gyroscopes…

Abstract

Purpose

Technological capabilities of manufacturing microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gyroscopes are still insufficient if compared to manufacturing high-efficient gyroscopes and accelerometers. This creates weaknesses in their mechanical structure and restrictions in the measurement accuracy, stability and reliability of MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers. This paper aims to develop a new architectural solutions for optimization of MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers and propose a multi-axis MEMS inertial module combining the functions of gyroscope and accelerometer.

Design/methodology/approach

The finite element modeling (FEM) and the modal analysis in FEM are used for sensing, drive and control electrode capacitances of the multi-axis MEMS inertial module with the proposed new architecture. The description is given to its step-by-step process of manufacturing. Algorithms are developed to detect its angular rates and linear acceleration along three Cartesian axes.

Findings

Experimental results are obtained for eigenfrequencies and capacitances of sensing, drive and control electrodes for 50 manufactured prototypes of the silicon electromechanical sensor (SES). For 42 SES prototypes, a good match is observed between the calculated and simulated capacitance values of comb electrodes. Thus, the mean-square deviation is not over 20 per cent. The maximum difference between the calculated and simulated eigenfrequencies in the drive channel of 11 SES prototypes is not over 3 per cent. The same difference is detected for eigenfrequencies in the first sensing channel of 17 SES prototypes.

Originality/value

This study shows a way to design and optimize the structure and theoretical background for the development of the MEMS inertial module combining the functions of gyroscope and accelerometer. The obtained results will improve and expand the manufacturing technology of MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2016

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to illustrate how sensors can be fabricated by combining nanomaterials with micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology and to give examples of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to illustrate how sensors can be fabricated by combining nanomaterials with micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology and to give examples of recently developed devices arising from this approach.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a short introduction, this paper first identifies the benefits of MEMS technology. It then discusses the techniques for integrating carbon nanotubes with MEMS and provides examples of physical and molecular sensors produced by these methods. Combining other gas-responsive nanomaterials with MEMS is then considered and finally techniques for producing graphene on silicon devices are discussed. Brief concluding comments are drawn.

Findings

This shows that many physical and molecular sensors have been developed by combining nanomaterials with MEMS technology. These have been fabricated by a diverse range of techniques which are often complex and multi-stage, but significant progress has been made and some are compatible with standard CMOS processes, yielding fully integrated nanosensors.

Originality/value

This provides an insight into how two key technologies are being combined to yield families of advanced sensors.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2018

Shashi Kumar, Pradeep Kumar Rathore, Brishbhan Singh Panwar and Jamil Akhtar

This paper aims to describe the fabrication and characterization of current mirror-integrated microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based pressure sensor.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe the fabrication and characterization of current mirror-integrated microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based pressure sensor.

Design/methodology/approach

The integrated pressure-sensing structure consists of three identical 100-µm long and 500-µm wide n-channel MOSFETs connected in a resistive loaded current mirror configuration. The input transistor of the mirror acts as a constant current source MOSFET and the output transistors are the stress sensing MOSFETs embedded near the fixed edge and at the center of a square silicon diaphragm to sense tensile and compressive stresses, respectively, developed under applied pressure. The current mirror circuit was fabricated using standard polysilicon gate complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology on the front side of the silicon wafer and the flexible pressure sensing square silicon diaphragm, with a length of 1,050 µm and width of 88 µm, was formed by bulk micromachining process using tetramethylammonium hydroxide solution on the backside of the wafer. The pressure is monitored by the acquisition of drain voltages of the pressure sensing MOSFETs placed near the fixed edge and at the center of the diaphragm.

Findings

The current mirror-integrated pressure sensor was successfully fabricated and tested using in-house developed pressure measurement system. The pressure sensitivity of the tested sensor was found to be approximately 0.3 mV/psi (or 44.6 mV/MPa) for pressure range of 0 to 100 psi. In addition, the pressure sensor was also simulated using Intellisuite MEMS Software and simulated pressure sensitivity of the sensor was found to be approximately 53.6 mV/MPa. The simulated and measured pressure sensitivities of the pressure sensor are in close agreement.

Originality/value

The work reported in this paper validates the use of MOSFETs connected in current mirror configuration for the measurement of tensile and compressive stresses developed in a silicon diaphragm under applied pressure. This current mirror readout circuitry integrated with MEMS pressure-sensing structure is new and fully compatible to standard CMOS processes and has a promising application in the development CMOS-MEMS-integrated smart sensors.

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

John Lee, Scott Newbern, Yu‐Chong Tai, Chih‐Ming Ho and Po‐Hao Adam Huang

The goal of this research is to demonstrate micro‐electro‐mechanical systems (MEMS)‐based transducers for aircraft maneuvering. Research in wind tunnels have shown that…

Abstract

Purpose

The goal of this research is to demonstrate micro‐electro‐mechanical systems (MEMS)‐based transducers for aircraft maneuvering. Research in wind tunnels have shown that micro‐actuators can be used to manipulate leading edge vortices found on aerodynamic surfaces with moderate to highly swept leading edges, such as a delta wing. This has been labeled as the MEMS vortex shift control (MEMS‐VSC). The work presented in this paper seeks to detail the evolution of real‐world flight tests of this research using remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs).

Design/methodology/approach

Four different RPVs were constructed and used for flight tests to demonstrate the ability of using MEMS devices to provide flight control, primarily in the rolling axis.

Findings

MEMS devices for high angle‐of‐attack (AOA) turning flights have been demonstrated and the paper finds that the success of a complex project like the MEMS‐VSC requires the marriage of basic science expertise found in academia and the technical expertise found in industry.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the need to test fly the RPVs at low altitudes for video documentation while performing high AOA maneuvers, the attrition of the RPVs becomes the dominant factor to the pace of research.

Practical implications

MEMS sensors and actuators can be used to augment flight control at high AOA, where conventional control surfaces typically experiences reduced effectiveness. Separately, the lessons learned from the integration efforts of this research provide a potentially near parallel case study to the development of ornithopter‐based micro aerial vehicles.

Originality/value

This is the only research‐to‐date involving the demonstration of the MEMS‐VSC on real‐world flight vehicles.

Details

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol. 83 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0002-2667

Keywords

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