To achieve radio frequency (RF) power detection, gain control, and circuit protection, this paper presents n+
GaAs/AuGeNi-Au thermocouple-type RF microelectromechanical system (MEMS) power sensors based on dual thermal flow paths. The sensors utilize a conversion principle of RF power-heat-voltage, where a thermovoltage is obtained as the RF power changes. To improve the heat transfer efficiency and the sensitivity, structures of two heat conduction paths are designed: one in which a thermal slug of Au is placed between two load resistors and hot junctions of the thermocouples, and one in which a back cavity is fabricated by the MEMS technology to form a substrate membrane underneath the resistors and the hot junctions. The improved sensors were fabricated by a GaAs monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) process. Experiments show that these sensors have reflection losses of less than −17 dB up to 12 GHz. At 1, 5, and 10 GHz, measured sensitivities are about 63.45, 53.97, and 44.14 µV/mW for the sensor with the thermal slug, and about 111.03, 94.79, and 79.04 µV/mW for the sensor with the thermal slug and the back cavity, respectively.
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