Skip to Main Content
A high-sensitivity capacitive humidity sensor intended for use as part of a respirator end-of-service-life indicator system is presented. This paper reports a method for improving the sensitivity of integrated capacitive chemical sensors by removing the underlying substrate. The sensor is integrated with CMOS testing electronics using maskless postprocessing followed by ink-jet deposition of a sensitive polymer. Two different methods of depositing polymer, namely, capillary wicking and coating the top surface directly, were investigated. The sensors had measured sensitivities of 0.16% to 0.18% change in capacitance per percent relative humidity, which is the highest demonstrated for an integrated capacitive humidity sensor. Temperature sensitivity of the sensor, which is an important criterion for a sensor intended for a variety of different ambient conditions, was measured to be 0.07%/??C. The cross sensitivities to toluene and acetone, which are two common industrial solvents that are filtered by respirator cartridges, were measured to be 2.4 ?? 10-4 and 9.0 ?? 10-5%/ppm, respectively.