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Surface micromachined accelerometers

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2 Author(s)
Boser, B.E. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Howe, R.T.

Surface micromachining has enabled the cofabrication of thin-film micromechanical structures and CMOS or bipolar/MOS integrated circuits. Using linear, single-axis accelerometers as a motivating example, this paper discusses the fundamental mechanical as well as the electronic noise floors for representative capacitive position-sensing interface circuits. Operation in vacuum lowers the Brownian noise of a polysilicon accelerometer to below 1 μg/√(Hz). For improved sensor performance, the position of the microstructure should be controlled using electrostatic force-feedback. Both analog and digital closed-loop accelerometers are described and contrasted, with the latter using high-frequency voltage pulses to apply force quanta to the microstructure and achieve a very linear response

Published in:

Solid-State Circuits, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 3 )