Miniaturization limits of piezoresistive MEMS accelerometers
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- Engesser, M., Franke, A.R., Maute, M. et al. Microsyst Technol (2009) 15: 1835. doi:10.1007/s00542-009-0920-4
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We present the miniaturization limits of axially loaded piezoresistive MEMS accelerometers. Therefore we identify limiting factors on the basis of FEM-verified analytical models. To ensure a broad discussion we compare two different axially loaded topologies: first a conventional topology, which can be manufactured already today, and second a future-oriented topology utilizing nanowires. To enable a realistic comparison of the different topologies we shrink the sensor while maintaining a specific performance (e.g. sensitivity and noise) considering design limitations such as fracture of silicon and buckling. To find the minimum total sensor area under certain constraints and therefore the optimal geometric and material parameters we apply optimization techniques to our analytical models. It will be seen that the piezoresistive transducer principle for MEMS accelerometers has a promising shrink potential with minimum total sensor dimensions as low as 150 × 150 × 10 μm3 achievable by use of currently available manufacturing processes.