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This paper reports a high-sensitivity low-noise capacitive accelerometer system with one micro-g/√Hz resolution. The accelerometer and interface electronics together operate as a second-order electromechanical sigma-delta modulator. A detailed noise analysis of electromechanical sigma-delta capacitive accelerometers with a final goal of achieving sub-μg resolution is also presented. The analysis and test results have shown that amplifier thermal and sensor charging reference voltage noises are dominant in open-loop mode of operation. For closed-loop mode of operation, mass-residual motion is the dominant noise source at low sampling frequencies. By increasing the sampling frequency, both open-loop and closed-loop overall noise can be reduced significantly. The interface circuit has more than 120 dB dynamic range and can resolve better than 10 aF. The complete module operates from a single 5-V supply and has a measured sensitivity of 960 mV/g with a noise floor of 1.08 μg/√Hz in open-loop. This system can resolve better than 10 μg/√Hz in closed-loop.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2006