Microsystem Technologies

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 69–82 | Cite as

Optimization of temperature uniformity of a serpentine thin film heater by a two-dimensional approach

  • Yuming Wu
  • Xiaosong Du
  • Yaru Li
  • Huiling Tai
  • Yuanjie Su
Technical Paper


In this paper, a two-step method is proposed to optimize the layout of the conventional serpentine film heater thus to improve the temperature uniformity. The optimization is made on transverse direction firstly with varied linewidths and pitches, and then on longitudinal direction with varied line shapes. Based on finite element simulation using a flow field approach, the heater geometry evolution dependent on temperature uniformity is investigated. The results show that the isothermal region extends greatly in transverse direction by the first step, while it extends subsequently in longitudinal direction by the second step and simultaneously shrinks in transverse direction. By a proper tradeoff between these two modification steps, the substrate area within 96.4% temperature uniformity increases by more than five times in comparison to the conventional serpentine heater. This area is even larger by 5% than that achieved by an optimized spiral heater, indicating that the serpentine heater is more powerful to adjust the temperature uniformity. Moreover, the optimized serpentine heater realizes a coverage ratio as high as 86.64% on a rectangular membrane, demonstrating that serpentine heaters are more flexible to substrate shapes than spiral heaters to achieve a uniform and large area temperature distribution.



This work was partially supported by National Science Founds of China (Grant no. 61771112) and National Science Founds for Creative Research Groups of China (no. 6142100).


  1. Agah M, Potkay JA, Lambertus G, Sacks R, Wise KD (2005) High-performance temperature-programmed microfabricated gas chromatography columns. J Microelectromech Syst 14(5):1039–1050Google Scholar
  2. Aigner R, Dietl M, Katterloher R, Klee V (1995) Si-planar-pellistor: designs for temperature modulated operation. Sens Actuators B 33(1):151–155Google Scholar
  3. Aigner R, Dietl M, Katterloher R, Klee V (1996) Si-planar-pellistor: designs for temperature modulated operation. Sens Actuators B 33(1–3):151–155Google Scholar
  4. Arata HF, Rondelez Y, Noji H, Fujita H (2005) Temperature alternation by an on-chip microheater to reveal enzymatic activity of β-galactosidase at high temperatures. Anal Chem 77(15):4810–4814Google Scholar
  5. Astie S, Gue AM, Scheid E, Lescouzeres L, Cassagnes A (1998) Optimization of an integrated SnO2 gas sensor using a FEM simulator. Sens Actuators A 69(3):205–211Google Scholar
  6. Baroncini M, Placidi P, Cardinali GC, Scorzoni A (2004) Thermal characterization of a microheater for micromachined gas sensors. Sens Actuators A 115(1):8–14Google Scholar
  7. Briand D, Heimgartner S, Grétillat MA, Bart VDS, De Rooij NF (2002a) Thermal optimization of micro-hotplates that have a silicon island. J Micromech Microeng 12(12):971–978Google Scholar
  8. Briand D, Schoot BVD, Rooij NFD, Sundgren H, Lundstrom I (2002b) A low-power micromachined MOSFET gas sensor. J Microelectromech Syst 9(3):303–308Google Scholar
  9. Cardinali G, Dori L, Fiorini M, Sayago I (1997) A smart sensor system for carbon monoxide detection. Analog Integr Circ Sig Process 296:275–296Google Scholar
  10. Chung GS, Jeong JM (2010) Fabrication of micro heaters on polycrystalline 3C-SiC suspended membranes for gas sensors and their characteristics. Microelectron Eng 87(11):2348–2352Google Scholar
  11. Courbat J, Briand D, De Rooij NF (2009) Reliability improvement of suspended platinum-based micro-heating elements. Sens Actuators A 142(1):284–291Google Scholar
  12. Courbat J, Canonica M, Teyssieux D, Briand D, De Rooij NF (2010) Design and fabrication of micro-hotplates made on a polyimide foil: electrothermal simulation and characterization to achieve power consumption in the low mw range. J Micromech Microeng 21(1):196–201Google Scholar
  13. Dai CL (2007) A capacitive humidity sensor integrated with micro heater and ring oscillator circuit fabricated by CMOS-MEMS technique. Sens Actuators B 122:375–380Google Scholar
  14. Greve A, Olsen JK, Boisen A, Privorotskaya N, King WP, Senesac L, Thundat T (2009) Micro-calorimetric sensor for vapour phase explosive detection with optimized heat profile. In: Proceedings of IEEE sensors 2009 conference-SENSORS 2009, pp 723–726Google Scholar
  15. Hamid NA, Majlis BY, Yunas J, Syafeeza AR, Yan CW, Ibrahim M (2016) A stack bonded thermo-pneumatic micro-pump utilizing polyimide based actuator membrane for biomedical applications. Microsyst Technol 23(9):1–7Google Scholar
  16. Hildenbrand J, Korvink J, Wollenstein J, Peter C, Kurzinger A, Naumann F, Ebert M, Lamprecht F (2010) Micromachined mid-infrared emitter for fast transient temperature operation for optical gas sensing systems. Sens J IEEE 10(2):353–362Google Scholar
  17. Hille P, Strack H (1992) A heated membrane for a capacitive gas sensor. Sens Actuators A 32(1–3):321–325Google Scholar
  18. Huber DL, Manginell RP, Samara MA, Kim BI, Bunker BC (2003) Programmed adsorption and release of proteins in a microfluidic device. Science 301(5631):352–354Google Scholar
  19. Hwang WJ, Shin KS, Roh JH, Lee DS, Choa SH (2011) Development of micro-heaters with optimized temperature compensation design for gas sensors. Sensors 11(3):2580Google Scholar
  20. Khan U, Falconi C (2013) Micro-hot-plates without simply connected hot-spots and with almost-circular temperature distribution. Sens Actuators B 185(8):274–281Google Scholar
  21. Laconte J, Dupont C, Flandre D, Raskin JP (2004) SOI CMOS compatible low-power microheater optimization for the fabrication of smart gas sensors. J Sens IEEE 4(5):670–680Google Scholar
  22. Lee SM, Dyer DC, Gardner JW (2003) Design and optimisation of a high-temperature silicon micro-hotplate for nanoporous palladium pellistors. Microelectron J 34(2):115–126Google Scholar
  23. Lee CY, Liu CC, Chen SC, Chiang CM, Su YH, Kuo WC (2011) High-performance MEMS-based gas chromatography column with integrated micro heater. Microsyst Technol 17(4):523–531Google Scholar
  24. Li T, Wu L, Liu Y, Wang L, Wang Y, Wang, YL (2006) Micro-heater on membrane with large uniform-temperature area. In: Proceedings of 2006 5th IEEE conference on sensors, pp 571–575Google Scholar
  25. Liu B, Hou Y, Li D, Yang J (2015) A thermal bubble micro-actuator with induction heating. Sens Actuators A 222(222):8–14Google Scholar
  26. Lu CC, Liao KH, Udrea F, Covington JA, Gardner JW (2008) Multi-field simulations and characterization of CMOS-MEMS high-temperature smart gas sensors based on SOI technology. J Micromech Microeng 18(7):075010Google Scholar
  27. Mele L, Rossi T, Riccio M, Iervolino E, Santagata F, Irace A, Breglio G, Creemer JF, Sarro PM (2011) Electro-thermal analysis of MEMS microhotplates for the optimization of temperature uniformity. Proc Eng 25(35):387–390Google Scholar
  28. Moschou D, Vourdas N, Kokkoris G, Papadakis G, Parthenios J, Chatzandroulis S, Tserepi A (2014) All-plastic, low-power, disposable, continuous-flow PCR chip with integrated microheaters for rapid DNA amplification. Sens Actuators 199:470–478Google Scholar
  29. Partridge JG, Field MR, Sadek AZ, Kalantar-Zadeh K, Du Plessis J, Taylor MB, McCulloch DG (2009) Fabrication, structural characterization and testing of a nanostructured tin oxide gas sensor. Sens J IEEE 9(5):563–568Google Scholar
  30. Prajesh R, Jain N, Agarwal A (2016) Low power highly sensitive platform for gas sensing application. Microsyst Technol 9:1–8Google Scholar
  31. Privorotskaya NL, King WP (2009) Silicon microcantilever hotplates with high temperature uniformity. Sens Actuators A 152(2):160–167Google Scholar
  32. Saxena G, Paily R (2013) Choice of insulation materials and its effect on the performance of square microhotplate. Microsyst Technol 21(2):393–399Google Scholar
  33. Saxena G, Paily R (2015) Performance improvement of square microhotplate with insulation layer and heater geometry. Microsyst Technol 21(11):2331–2338Google Scholar
  34. Sidek O, Ishak MZ, Khalid MA, Bakar MZA,Miskam MA (2011) Effect of heater geometry on the high temperature distribution on a MEMS micro-hotplate. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Asia symposium on quality electronic design, pp 100–104Google Scholar
  35. Simon I, Bârsan N, Bauer M, Weimar U (2001) Micromachined metal oxide gas sensors: opportunities to improve sensor performance. Sens Actuators B 73(1):1–26Google Scholar
  36. Solzbacher F, Imawan C, Steffes H, Obermeier E, Möller H (2000) A modular system of SiC-based microhotplates for the application in metal oxide gas sensors. Sens Actuators B 64(1–3):95–101Google Scholar
  37. Spannhake J, Schulz O, Helwig A, Krenkow A, Müller G, Doll T (2006) High-temperature MEMS heater platforms: long-term performance of metal and semiconductor heater materials. Sensors 6(4):405–419Google Scholar
  38. Spannhake J, Helwig A, Müller G, Faglia G, Sberveglieri G, Doll T (2007) SnO2:Sb—a new material for high-temperature MEMS heater applications: performance and limitations. Sens Actuators B 124:421–428Google Scholar
  39. Tian WC, Wu TH, Lu CJ, Chen WR, Sheen HJ (2012) A novel micropreconcentrator employing a laminar flow patterned heater for micro gas chromatography. J Micromech Microeng 22(6):65014–65021Google Scholar
  40. Velmathi G, Ramshanker N, Mohan S (2010) Design, electro-thermal simulation and geometrical optimization of double spiral shaped microheater on a suspended membrane for gas sensing. In: IEEE IECON 2010, conference on IEEE industrial electronics society, pp 1258–1262Google Scholar
  41. Vereshchagina E, Tiggelaar RM, Sanders RGP, Wolters RAM, Gardeniers JGE (2015) Low power micro-calorimetric sensors for analysis of gaseous samples. Sens Actuators B 206:772–787Google Scholar
  42. Wang B, Lin Q (2013) Temperature-modulated differential scanning calorimetry in a mems device. Sens Actuators B 180(10):60–65Google Scholar
  43. Wu S, Lin Q, Yin Y, Tai YC (2001) Mems flow sensors for nano-fluidic applications. Sens Actuators A 89(1–2):152–158Google Scholar
  44. Wu YE, Chen K, Chen CW, Hsu KH (2002) Fabrication and characterization of thermal conductivity detectors (TCDs) of different flow channel and heater designs. Sens Actuators A 100(1):37–45Google Scholar
  45. Xu L, Li T, Wang Y (2011) A novel three-dimensional microheater. IEEE Electron Device Lett 32(9):1284–1286Google Scholar
  46. Yoon JH, Kim BJ, Kim JS (2012) Design and fabrication of micro hydrogen gas sensors using palladium thin film. Mater Chem Phys 133(2–3):987–991Google Scholar
  47. Yu S, Wang S, Lu M, Zuo L (2017) A novel polyimide based micro heater with high temperature uniformity. Sens Actuators A Phys 257:58–64Google Scholar
  48. Zhang FT, Tang Z, Yu J, Jin RC (2006) A micro-pirani vacuum gauge based on micro-hotplate technology. Sens Actuators A 126(2):300–305Google Scholar
  49. Zheng C, Balasubramanian GPS, Tan Y, Maniatty AM, Hull R, Wen JT (2017) Simulation, microfabrication, and control of a microheater array. IEEE/ASME Trans Mechatron 22(4):1914–1919Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuming Wu
    • 1
  • Xiaosong Du
    • 1
  • Yaru Li
    • 1
  • Huiling Tai
    • 1
  • Yuanjie Su
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated DevicesUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)ChengduPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations