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Characterization of a high-sensitivity micromachined tunneling accelerometer with micro-g resolution

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7 Author(s)
Cheng-Hsien Liu ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Stanford Univ., CA, USA ; Barzilai, A.M. ; Reynolds, J.K. ; Partridge, A.
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A new high-sensitivity bulk-silicon-micromachined tunneling accelerometer with micro-g resolution has been successfully fabricated and tested at Stanford University. This accelerometer is a prototype intended for underwater acoustics applications and is required to feature micro-g resolution at frequencies between 5 Hz and 1 kHz and can be packaged with circuitry in an 8-cm3 volume with a total mass of 8 g. This paper briefly describes the mechanical design of this tunneling accelerometer and focuses on the experiments carried out in our laboratory to test the tunneling transducer as well as on the experimental determination of accelerometer resolution. The exponential relationship between tunneling gap and tunneling current is verified and results in an effective tunneling barrier height of about 0.2 eV. The goal of this paper is to outline the measurements which are necessary to verify that the sensor is actually tunneling and to confirm that the accelerometer performance is consistent with what should be expected from a tunneling accelerometer

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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 2 )