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This paper reports a capacitive-type CMOSmicroelectromechanical system tactile sensor containing a capacitance-sensing gap filled with polymer. Thus, the equivalent stiffness of the tactile sensor can be modulated by the polymer fill-in, so as to further tune its sensing range. Moreover, the polymer fill-in has a higher dielectric constant to increase the sensitivity of the tactile sensor. In short, the sensing range and sensitivity of the proposed tactile sensor can be easily changed by using the polymer fill-in. In application, the tactile sensor and sensing circuits have been designed and implemented using the 1) TSMC 0.35 μm 2P4M CMOS process and the 2) in-house post-CMOS releasing and polymer-filling processes. The polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) material with different curing agent ratios has been exploited as the fill-in polymers. The experiment results demonstrate that the equivalent stiffness of tactile sensors can be adjusted from 16.85 to 124.43 kN/m. Thus, the sensitivity of the tactile sensor increases from 1.5 to 42.7 mV/mN by varying the PDMS filling. Moreover, the maximum sensing load is also improved.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011