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Resonant Magnetic Field Sensor With Frequency Output

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6 Author(s)
Sunier, R. ; Phys. Electron. Lab., Eidgenossische Tech. Hochschule, Zurich ; Vancura, T. ; Yue Li ; Kirstein, K.-U.
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This paper presents a novel type of resonant magnetic field sensor exploiting the Lorentz force and providing a frequency output. The mechanical resonator, a cantilever structure, is embedded as the frequency-determining element in an electrical oscillator. By generating an electrical current proportional to the position of the cantilever, a Lorentz force acting like an additional equivalent spring is exerted on the cantilever in the presence of a magnetic field. Thus, the oscillation frequency of the system, which is a function of the resonator's equivalent spring constant, is modulated by the magnetic field to be measured. The resonant magnetic field sensor is fabricated using an industrial CMOS process, followed by a two-mask micromachining sequence to release the cantilever structure. The characterized devices show a sensitivity of 60 kHz/Tesla at their resonance frequency f0 =175 kHz and a short-term frequency stability of 0.025 Hz, which corresponds to a resolution below 1 muT. The devices can thus be used for Earth magnetic field applications, such as an electronic compass. The novel resonant magnetic field sensor benefits from an efficient continuous offset cancellation technique, which consist in evaluating the frequency difference measured with and without excitation current as output signal

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 5 )