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Sensors 2017, 17(9), 2158; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17092158

High-Sensitivity Encoder-Like Micro Area-Changed Capacitive Transducer for a Nano-g Micro Accelerometer

1
MOE Key Laboratory of Fundamental Physical Quantities Measurement & Hubei Key Laboratory of Gravitation and Quantum Physics, School of Physics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
2
Institute of Geophysics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inertial Sensors for Positioning and Navigation)
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Abstract

Encoder-like micro area-changed capacitive transducers are advantageous in terms of their better linearity and larger dynamic range compared to gap-changed capacitive transducers. Such transducers have been widely applied in rectilinear and rotational position sensors, lab-on-a-chip applications and bio-sensors. However, a complete model accounting for both the parasitic capacitance and fringe effect in area-changed capacitive transducers has not yet been developed. This paper presents a complete model for this type of transducer applied to a high-resolution micro accelerometer that was verified by both simulations and experiments. A novel optimization method involving the insertion of photosensitive polyimide was used to reduce the parasitic capacitance, and the capacitor spacing was decreased to overcome the fringe effect. The sensitivity of the optimized transducer was approximately 46 pF/mm, which was nearly 40 times higher than that of our previous transducer. The displacement detection resolution was measured as 50 pm/√Hz at 0.1 Hz using a precise capacitance detection circuit. Then, the transducer was applied to a sandwich in-plane micro accelerometer, and the measured level of the accelerometer was approximately 30 ng/√Hz at 1Hz. The earthquake that occurred in Taiwan was also detected during a continuous gravity measurement. View Full-Text
Keywords: capacitive sensor; area-changed; parasitic capacitance; fringe effect; sensitivity improvement; micro accelerometer capacitive sensor; area-changed; parasitic capacitance; fringe effect; sensitivity improvement; micro accelerometer
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Wu, W.; Zheng, P.; Liu, J.; Li, Z.; Fan, J.; Liu, H.; Tu, L. High-Sensitivity Encoder-Like Micro Area-Changed Capacitive Transducer for a Nano-g Micro Accelerometer. Sensors 2017, 17, 2158.

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