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Stable MEMS Pressure Sensor Developed

An international research team has created a miniaturized MEMS pressure sensor that is both physically stable and sensitive. As device sizes shrink, it is difficult to produce sensors with both attributes because the components are typically fragile and the circuit sizes are much smaller and difficult to design. The Singapore and South Korean researchers – from National University of Singapore; Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research; and Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korea -- solved the challenge by creating a sensor with a stable diaphragm able to deform under pressure. Their sensor also contains a piezoresistor—which experiences a change in electrical resistivity when mechanical stress is applied—made from silicon nanowires. The change in piezoresististance in this device is caused by small changes in pressure that are transferred by the diaphragm to the piezoresistor. It is critical that the diaphragm retain its shape for the sensor to continue functioning. MEMS pressure sensors are used in applications such as oil-well drilling and robot-driven surgery. The researchers, who are also exploring the sensor’s use in an implantable medical device, published their work in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. (PhysOrg)(Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering)

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