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Three-Axis Lorentz-Force Magnetic Sensor for Electronic Compass Applications

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4 Author(s)
Mo Li ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA, USA ; Vashwar T. Rouf ; Matthew J. Thompson ; David A. Horsley

A low-power microelectromechanical-systems (MEMS) three-axis Lorentz-force magnetic sensor is presented. The sensor detects magnetic field in two axes with a single MEMS structure. Three-axis sensing is performed using two perpendicular structures on the same die. The MEMS device is a micromechanical resonator, and sensing is conducted using excitation currents at the device's in-plane and out-of-plane mechanical resonant frequencies which are 20.55 and 46.96 kHz, respectively. A die-level vacuum seal results in in-plane and out-of-plane mechanical quality factors of 1400 and 10000, current, the sensor's noise is equivalent to 137 nT/√Hz for the respectively. With 0.58 mW used to provide the two-axis excitation z-axis magnetic field inputs and 444 nT/√Hz for the x-and y-axis fields. For the z-axis field measurements, Brownian noise is the dominant noise component, while the xand y-axis field measurements are limited by the electronic noise in the discrete capacitive-sensing electronics. The major source of offset error is residual motion induced by electrostatic force. The offset is reduced to 14 μT using a dc compensation voltage applied to the MEMS structure to null the electrostatic force. After compensation, the offset stability is 400 nT with a 0.7-s averaging time.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 4 )