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This work presents a microsystem that utilizes inductive power and data transfer through a backscatter-modulated carrier and a transducer interface that monitors its environment through embedded capacitive transducers. Formed on a single chip, transducers for temperature, pressure, and relative humidity are realized using a silicon-on-glass process that combines anodic bonding and a silicon-gold eutectic to realize vacuum-sealed cavities with low-impedance (6 Ω) electrical feedthroughs. Temperature is sensed capacitively using a row of Si/Au bimorph beams that produce a sensitivity of 15 fF/°C from 20 to 100°C. The absolute pressure sensors have a sensitivity of 15 fF/torr and a range from 500 to 1200 torr, while the relative humidity sensor responds with 39 fF/%RH from 20 to 95%RH. A relaxation oscillator implements low-power capacitance-to-frequency conversion on a second chip with a sensitivity of 750 Hz/pF at 10 kHz, forming a 341 μW transducer interface. The system is remotely powered by a 3-MHz carrier and has a volume of 32 mm3, including the hybrid antenna wound around the perimeter of the system.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005