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Low-noise MEMS vibration sensor for geophysical applications

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4 Author(s)
Bernstein, J. ; Charles Stark Draper Lab. Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Miller, Raanan ; Kelley, W. ; Ward, P.

The need exists for high-sensitivity, low-noise vibration sensors for various applications, such as geophysical data collection, tracking vehicles, intrusion detectors, and underwater pressure gradient detection. In general, these sensors differ from classical accelerometers in that they require no direct current response, but must have a very low noise floor over a required bandwidth. Theory indicates a capacitive micromachined silicon vibration sensor can have a noise floor on the order of 100 ng/√Hz over 1 kHz bandwidth, while reducing size and weight tenfold compared to existing magnetic geophones. With early prototypes, we have demonstrated Brownian-limited noise floor at 1.0 μg/Hz, orders of magnitude more sensitive than surface micromachined devices such as the industry standard ADXL05

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 4 )