High-G MEMS integrated accelerometer

Brady R. Davies, Carole Craig Barron, Stephen Montague, James H. Smith, James R. Murray, Todd R. Christenson, Vesta I. Bateman, Vijay K. Varadan, Paul J. McWhorter
1997 Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Smart Electronics and MEMS  
This paper describes the design and implementation of a surface micromachined accelerometer for measuring very high levels of acceleration (up to 50,000 G). Both the mechanical and electronic portions of the sensor were integrated on a single substrate using a process developed at Sandia National Laboratories. In this process, the mechanical components of the sensor were first fabricated at the bottom of a trench etched into the wafer substrate. The trench was then filled with oxide and sealed
more » ... h oxide and sealed to protect the mechanical components during subsequent microelectronics processing. The wafer surface was then planarized in preparation for CMOS processing using Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP). Next, the CMOS electronics were fabricated on areas of the wafer adjacent to the embedded structures. Finally, the mechanical structures were released and the sensor tested. The mechanical structure of the sensor consisted of two polysilicon plate masses suspended by multiple springs (cantilevered beam structures) over corresponding polysilicon plates fixed to the substrate to form two parallel plate capacitors. The first polysilicon plate mass was suspended using compliant springs (cantilever beams) and acted as a variable capacitor during sensor acceleration. The second polysilicon plate mass was suspended using very stiff springs and acted as a fixed capacitor during acceleration. Acceleration was measured by comparing the capacitance of the variable capacitor (compliant suspension) with the fixed capacitance (stiff suspension).
doi:10.1117/12.276628 fatcat:hzu3mhvhjvhbpnh452k7n6gd5u