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Sensors 2010, 10(11), 9847-9856; doi:10.3390/s101109847

A Tunable Strain Sensor Using Nanogranular Metals

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1 Physikalisches Institut, Goethe Universität, Max-von-Laue-Str. 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany 2 Nanoscale Systems GmbH, Robert-Bosch-Str. 7, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany 3 RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, Am Brückweg 26, 65428 Rüsselsheim, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 September 2010 / Revised: 12 October 2010 / Accepted: 13 October 2010 / Published: 2 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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This paper introduces a new methodology for the fabrication of strain-sensor elements for MEMS and NEMS applications based on the tunneling effect in nano-granular metals. The strain-sensor elements are prepared by the maskless lithography technique of focused electron-beam-induced deposition (FEBID) employing the precursor trimethylmethylcyclopentadienyl platinum [MeCpPt(Me)3]. We use a cantilever-based deflection technique to determine the sensitivity (gauge factor) of the sensor element. We find that its sensitivity depends on the electrical conductivity and can be continuously tuned, either by the thickness of the deposit or by electron-beam irradiation leading to a distinct maximum in the sensitivity. This maximum finds a theoretical rationale in recent advances in the understanding of electronic charge transport in nano-granular metals.
Keywords: cantilevers; electron beam induced deposition; granular metals; strain sensors cantilevers; electron beam induced deposition; granular metals; strain sensors
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Schwalb, C.H.; Grimm, C.; Baranowski, M.; Sachser, R.; Porrati, F.; Reith, H.; Das, P.; Müller, J.; Völklein, F.; Kaya, A.; Huth, M. A Tunable Strain Sensor Using Nanogranular Metals. Sensors 2010, 10, 9847-9856.

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