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Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2190; doi:10.3390/s17102190

Autonomous Microsystems for Downhole Applications: Design Challenges, Current State, and Initial Test Results

Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSensing and Systems (WIMS2), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
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Received: 13 August 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 23 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Materials for Harsh Environments)
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Abstract

This paper describes two platforms for autonomous sensing microsystems that are intended for deployment in chemically corrosive environments at elevated temperatures and pressures. Following the deployment period, the microsystems are retrieved, recharged, and interrogated wirelessly at close proximity. The first platform is the Michigan Micro Mote for High Temperature (M3HT), a chip stack 2.9 × 1.1 × 1.5 mm3 in size. It uses RF communications to support pre-deployment and post-retrieval functions, and it uses customized electronics to achieve ultralow power consumption, permitting the use of a chip-scale battery. The second platform is the Environmental Logging Microsystem (ELM). This system, which is 6.5 × 6.3 × 4.5 mm3 in size, uses the smallest suitable off-the-shelf electronic and battery components that are compatible with assembly on a flexible printed circuit board. Data are stored in non-volatile memory, permitting retrieval even after total power loss. Pre-deployment and post-retrieval functions are supported by optical communication. Two types of encapsulation methods are used to withstand high pressure and corrosive environments: an epoxy filled volume is used for the M3HT, and a hollow stainless-steel shell with a sapphire lid is used for both the M3HT and ELM. The encapsulated systems were successfully tested at temperature and pressure reaching 150 °C and 10,000 psi, in environments of concentrated brine, oil, and cement slurry. At elevated temperatures, the limited lifetimes of available batteries constrain the active deployment period to several hours. View Full-Text
Keywords: microsensors; pressure; temperature; encapsulation microsensors; pressure; temperature; encapsulation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Choi, M.; Sui, Y.; Lee, I.H.; Meredith, R.; Ma, Y.; Kim, G.; Blaauw, D.; Gianchandani, Y.B.; Li, T. Autonomous Microsystems for Downhole Applications: Design Challenges, Current State, and Initial Test Results. Sensors 2017, 17, 2190.

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