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Design of a high sensitivity capacitive force sensor

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3 Author(s)
Henry K. Chu ; Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King¿s College Road, Ontario, Canada M5S 3G8 ; James K. Mills ; William L. Cleghorn

This paper presents the design and development of a MEMS based, capacitive sensor for micro-force measurement. The sensor has an overall dimension of 3600 mum times 1000 mum times 10 mum and was fabricated using the Micragem fabrication process. A displacement reduction mechanism is incorporated in this sensor design to increase the sensitivity of the sensor. Analysis from Finite Element software, COMSOL, confirms that a 10:1 displacement reduction ratio is achievable with this mechanism. Simulation results show that the sensor is capable of measuring a maximum force input of 11 milli-Newton, resulting from a 20-mum displacement on the sensing structure. A 6-DOF manipulator and an evaluation board were used to experimentally verify the performance the sensor. Experimental results show that a capacitance change of approximately 175 to 200 fF can be observed from a 20-mum displacement.

Published in:

2007 7th IEEE Conference on Nanotechnology (IEEE NANO)

Date of Conference:

2-5 Aug. 2007