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An accurate analytical model for the change in resistance of a piezoresistor is necessary for the design of silicon piezoresistive transducers. Ion implantation requires a high-temperature oxidation or annealing process to activate the dopant atoms, and this treatment results in a distorted dopant profile due to diffusion. Existing analytical models do not account for the concentration dependence of piezoresistance and are not accurate for nonuniform dopant profiles. We extend previous analytical work by introducing two nondimensional factors, namely, the efficiency and geometry factors. A practical benefit of this efficiency factor is that it separates the process parameters from the design parameters; thus, designers may address requirements for cantilever geometry and fabrication process independently. To facilitate the design process, we provide a lookup table for the efficiency factor over an extensive range of process conditions. The model was validated by comparing simulation results with the experimentally determined sensitivities of piezoresistive cantilevers. We performed 9200 TSUPREM4 simulations and fabricated 50 devices from six unique process flows; we systematically explored the design space relating process parameters and cantilever sensitivity. Our treatment focuses on piezoresistive cantilevers, but the analytical sensitivity model is extensible to other piezoresistive transducers such as membrane pressure sensors.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2010