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Micromachines 2016, 7(10), 187; doi:10.3390/mi7100187

Design Optimization and Fabrication of High-Sensitivity SOI Pressure Sensors with High Signal-to-Noise Ratios Based on Silicon Nanowire Piezoresistors

1,2,3,* , 3
,
1,2,3
,
1,3,* , 4
and
1,3
1
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Meteorological Observation and information Processing, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
2
Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center on Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
3
School of Electronic and Information Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
4
School of Information Science and Technology, Suqian College, Suqian 223800, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ha Duong Ngo
Received: 15 August 2016 / Revised: 28 September 2016 / Accepted: 6 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
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Abstract

In order to meet the requirement of high sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratios (SNR), this study develops and optimizes a piezoresistive pressure sensor by using double silicon nanowire (SiNW) as the piezoresistive sensing element. First of all, ANSYS finite element method and voltage noise models are adopted to optimize the sensor size and the sensor output (such as sensitivity, voltage noise and SNR). As a result, the sensor of the released double SiNW has 1.2 times more sensitivity than that of single SiNW sensor, which is consistent with the experimental result. Our result also displays that both the sensitivity and SNR are closely related to the geometry parameters of SiNW and its doping concentration. To achieve high performance, a p-type implantation of 5 × 1018 cm−3 and geometry of 10 µm long SiNW piezoresistor of 1400 nm × 100 nm cross area and 6 µm thick diaphragm of 200 µm × 200 µm are required. Then, the proposed SiNW pressure sensor is fabricated by using the standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) lithography process as well as wet-etch release process. This SiNW pressure sensor produces a change in the voltage output when the external pressure is applied. The involved experimental results show that the pressure sensor has a high sensitivity of 495 mV/V·MPa in the range of 0–100 kPa. Nevertheless, the performance of the pressure sensor is influenced by the temperature drift. Finally, for the sake of obtaining accurate and complete information over wide temperature and pressure ranges, the data fusion technique is proposed based on the back-propagation (BP) neural network, which is improved by the particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm. The particle swarm optimization–back-propagation (PSO–BP) model is implemented in hardware using a 32-bit STMicroelectronics (STM32) microcontroller. The results of calibration and test experiments clearly prove that the PSO–BP neural network can be effectively applied to minimize sensor errors derived from temperature drift. View Full-Text
Keywords: silicon nanowire; piezoresistive pressure sensor; high-sensitivity; high signal-to-noise ratio; optimized design; fabrication process; data fusion; particle swarm optimization–back-propagation (PSO–BP) neural network; temperature drift compensation silicon nanowire; piezoresistive pressure sensor; high-sensitivity; high signal-to-noise ratio; optimized design; fabrication process; data fusion; particle swarm optimization–back-propagation (PSO–BP) neural network; temperature drift compensation
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, J.; Zhao, Y.; Ge, Y.; Li, M.; Yang, L.; Mao, X. Design Optimization and Fabrication of High-Sensitivity SOI Pressure Sensors with High Signal-to-Noise Ratios Based on Silicon Nanowire Piezoresistors. Micromachines 2016, 7, 187.

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