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Open AccessArticle

n+ GaAs/AuGeNi-Au Thermocouple-Type RF MEMS Power Sensors Based on Dual Thermal Flow Paths in GaAs MMIC

Key Laboratory of MEMS of the Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
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Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1426; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17061426
Received: 18 May 2017 / Revised: 12 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 17 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS and Nano-Sensors)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: n+ GaAs/AuGeNi-Au thermocouples; thermal flow path; GaAs MMIC; microwave measurement; power sensor; RF MEMS n+ GaAs/AuGeNi-Au thermocouples; thermal flow path; GaAs MMIC; microwave measurement; power sensor; RF MEMS
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Zhang, Z.; Liao, X. n+ GaAs/AuGeNi-Au Thermocouple-Type RF MEMS Power Sensors Based on Dual Thermal Flow Paths in GaAs MMIC. Sensors 2017, 17, 1426.

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