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A high-performance planar piezoresistive accelerometer

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8 Author(s)
A. Partridge ; Dept. of Electr. & Mech. Eng., Stanford Univ., CA, USA ; J. K. Reynolds ; B. W. Chui ; E. M. Chow
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The micromachined piezoresistive accelerometer is now 20 years old. Design variations have been investigated, but commercial devices have generally maintained a consistent topology with incremental improvements. In this paper, a new approach is introduced to the design and construction of this device that offers functional and manufacturing advantages. Piezoresistive accelerometers are described that combine deep reactive ion etching and oblique ion implantation to form self-caging proof masses and flexures with vertical sidewalls and sidewall piezoresistive strain sensors. These devices deflect in-plane rather than out-of-plane, which allows one to form multiaxis accelerometers on one substrate. Performance is comparable to inexpensive commercial capacitive accelerometers and is limited by 1/f noise. The design, fabrication, and experimental characterization is presented. This new topology provides the foundation for a new category of piezoresistive accelerometers.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 1 )