Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Capacitive silicon sensors

CASE is a method of development for micromechanical pressure sensors based on the capacitive principle. The sensors are fabricated using silicon technology the same that is used for the manufacture of integrated circuits (IC). These batch fabrication processes result in low cost and high controllability of dimensions. The sensors are of high stability and of low power consumption. CASE treats development of tiny devices which can measure pressure very accurately. For example, the devices can measure pressure changes of 1 mbar in the pressure range 1-300 mbars. The fabrication technique of the devices is similar to the techniques used for the fabrication of ICs, exploiting the cost benefits and the fabrication accuracy and repeatability of this technology. The operational principle of the sensors is based on the change of the capacitance between a flexible (deflecting with pressure) and an immobile electrode. This principle makes low power consumption possible. The output of the sensor is a capacitance. An application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) has been also developed that translates the capacitance into a frequency. The power consumption in this case is 50 uW. The device has been developed for application in blood pressure measurements. The device exhibits high long term stability and its fabrication technology is easily adapted to apply to different pressure ranges. Potential areas of application are the medical field, watch industry and automotive industry.


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