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Sensors 2014, 14(4), 7374-7393; doi:10.3390/s140407374

An Accurate and Computationally Efficient Model for Membrane-Type Circular-Symmetric Micro-Hotplates

Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Tor Vergata, Via del Politecnico 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
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Received: 11 February 2014 / Revised: 15 April 2014 / Accepted: 17 April 2014 / Published: 23 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract

Ideally, the design of high-performance micro-hotplates would require a large number of simulations because of the existence of many important design parameters as well as the possibly crucial effects of both spread and drift. However, the computational cost of FEM simulations, which are the only available tool for accurately predicting the temperature in micro-hotplates, is very high. As a result, micro-hotplate designers generally have no effective simulation-tools for the optimization. In order to circumvent these issues, here, we propose a model for practical circular-symmetric micro-hot-plates which takes advantage of modified Bessel functions, computationally efficient matrix-approach for considering the relevant boundary conditions, Taylor linearization for modeling the Joule heating and radiation losses, and external-region-segmentation strategy in order to accurately take into account radiation losses in the entire micro-hotplate. The proposed model is almost as accurate as FEM simulations and two to three orders of magnitude more computationally efficient (e.g., 45 s versus more than 8 h). The residual errors, which are mainly associated to the undesired heating in the electrical contacts, are small (e.g., few degrees Celsius for an 800 °C operating temperature) and, for important analyses, almost constant. Therefore, we also introduce a computationally-easy single-FEM-compensation strategy in order to reduce the residual errors to about 1 °C. As illustrative examples of the power of our approach, we report the systematic investigation of a spread in the membrane thermal conductivity and of combined variations of both ambient and bulk temperatures. Our model enables a much faster characterization of micro-hotplates and, thus, a much more effective optimization prior to fabrication. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular-symmetric micro-hotplates; temperature distribution; gas sensors; infrared emitters; micro-reactors circular-symmetric micro-hotplates; temperature distribution; gas sensors; infrared emitters; micro-reactors
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Khan, U.; Falconi, C. An Accurate and Computationally Efficient Model for Membrane-Type Circular-Symmetric Micro-Hotplates. Sensors 2014, 14, 7374-7393.

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