Special Issue "Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "A:Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jaume Verd
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Electronic Systems Group (GSE), University of the Balearic Islands, E-07122 Palma (Illes Balears), Spain
Tel. +34-971-172006
Interests: CMOS-MEMS/NEMS devices; MEMS resonators nonlinearities; VLSI CMOS design
Prof. Dr. Jaume Segura
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Electronic Systems Group (GSE), University of the Balearic Islands, E-07122 Palma (Illes Balears), Spain
Tel. +34-971-172530
Interests: MEMS/NEMS devices; VLSI CMOS design and reliability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Micro and nano-electro-mechanical system (M/NEMS) devices constitute key technological building blocks to enable increased additional functionalities within Integrated Circuits (ICs) in the More-Than-Moore era, as described in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. The CMOS ICs and M/NEMS dies can be combined in the same package (SiP), or integrated within a single chip (SoC). In the SoC approach the M/NEMS devices are monolithically integrated together with CMOS circuitry allowing the development of compact and low-cost CMOS-M/NEMS devices for multiple applications (physical sensors, chemical sensors, biosensors, actuators, energy actuators, filters, mechanical relays, and others). On-chip CMOS electronics integration can overcome limitations related to the extremely low-level signals in sub-micrometer and nanometer scale electromechanical transducers enabling novel breakthrough applications. This Special Issue aims to gather high quality research contributions dealing with MEMS and NEMS devices monolithically integrated with CMOS, independently of the final application and fabrication approach adopted (MEMS-first, interleaved MEMS, MEMS-last or others).

Dr. Jaume Verd
Prof. Dr. Jaume Segura
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • MEMS/NEMS sensors
  • CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Fabrication technologies
  • RF MEMS and Oscillators
  • Nonlinearities and Modelling
  • MEMS/NEMS actuators
  • Power MEMS
  • Mechanical relays

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Editorial for the Special Issue on Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices
Micromachines 2019, 10(4), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10040273 - 24 Apr 2019
Abstract
Micro and nanoelectromechanical system (M/NEMS) devices constitute key technological building blocks to enable increased additional functionalities within integrated circuits (ICs) in the More-Than-Moore era, as described in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Towards an Ultra-Sensitive Temperature Sensor for Uncooled Infrared Sensing in CMOS–MEMS Technology
Micromachines 2019, 10(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10020108 - 06 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Microbolometers and photon detectors are two main technologies to address the needs in Infrared Sensing applications. While the microbolometers in both complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology offer many advantages over photon detectors, they still suffer from nonlinearity and relatively [...] Read more.
Microbolometers and photon detectors are two main technologies to address the needs in Infrared Sensing applications. While the microbolometers in both complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology offer many advantages over photon detectors, they still suffer from nonlinearity and relatively low temperature sensitivity. This paper not only offers a reliable solution to solve the nonlinearity problem but also demonstrate a noticeable potential to build ultra-sensitive CMOS–MEMS temperature sensor for infrared (IR) sensing applications. The possibility of a 31× improvement in the total absolute frequency shift with respect to ambient temperature change is verified via both COMSOL (multiphysics solver) and theory. Nonlinearity problem is resolved by an operating temperature sensor around the beam bending point. The effect of both pull-in force and dimensional change is analyzed in depth, and a drastic increase in performance is achieved when the applied pull-in force between adjacent beams is kept as small as possible. The optimum structure is derived with a length of 57 µm and a thickness of 1 µm while avoiding critical temperature and, consequently, device failure. Moreover, a good match between theory and COMSOL is demonstrated, and this can be used as a guidance to build state-of-the-art designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A High-Performance Digital Interface Circuit for a High-Q Micro-Electromechanical System Accelerometer
Micromachines 2018, 9(12), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9120675 - 19 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers are widely used in the inertial navigation and nanosatellites field. A high-performance digital interface circuit for a high-Q MEMS micro-accelerometer is presented in this work. The mechanical noise of the MEMS accelerometer is decreased by the application of a [...] Read more.
Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers are widely used in the inertial navigation and nanosatellites field. A high-performance digital interface circuit for a high-Q MEMS micro-accelerometer is presented in this work. The mechanical noise of the MEMS accelerometer is decreased by the application of a vacuum-packaged sensitive element. The quantization noise in the baseband of the interface circuit is greatly suppressed by a 4th-order loop shaping. The digital output is attained by the interface circuit based on a low-noise front-end charge-amplifier and a 4th-order Sigma-Delta (ΣΔ) modulator. The stability of high-order ΣΔ was studied by the root locus method. The gain of the integrators was reduced by using the proportional scaling technique. The low-noise front-end detection circuit was proposed with the correlated double sampling (CDS) technique to eliminate the 1/f noise and offset. The digital interface circuit was implemented by 0.35 μm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. The high-performance digital accelerometer system was implemented by double chip integration and the active interface circuit area was about 3.3 mm × 3.5 mm. The high-Q MEMS accelerometer system consumed 10 mW from a single 5 V supply at a sampling frequency of 250 kHz. The micro-accelerometer system could achieve a third harmonic distortion of −98 dB and an average noise floor in low-frequency range of less than −140 dBV; a resolution of 0.48 μg/Hz1/2 (@300 Hz); a bias stability of 18 μg by the Allen variance program in MATLAB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
High Performance Seesaw Torsional CMOS-MEMS Relay Using Tungsten VIA Layer
Micromachines 2018, 9(11), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9110579 - 07 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, a seesaw torsional relay monolithically integrated in a standard 0.35 μm complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology is presented. The seesaw relay is fabricated using the Back-End-Of-Line (BEOL) layers available, specifically using the tungsten VIA3 layer of a 0.35 μm [...] Read more.
In this paper, a seesaw torsional relay monolithically integrated in a standard 0.35 μm complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology is presented. The seesaw relay is fabricated using the Back-End-Of-Line (BEOL) layers available, specifically using the tungsten VIA3 layer of a 0.35 μm CMOS technology. Three different contact materials are studied to discriminate which is the most adequate as a mechanical relay. The robustness of the relay is proved, and its main characteristics as a relay for the three different contact interfaces are provided. The seesaw relay is capable of a double hysteretic switching cycle, providing compactness for mechanical logic processing. The low contact resistance achieved with the TiN/W mechanical contact with high cycling life time is competitive in comparison with the state-of-the art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A Temperature-Compensated Single-Crystal Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) MEMS Oscillator with a CMOS Amplifier Chip
Micromachines 2018, 9(11), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9110559 - 29 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Self-sustained feedback oscillators referenced to MEMS/NEMS resonators have the potential for a wide range of applications in timing and sensing systems. In this paper, we describe a real-time temperature compensation approach to improving the long-term stability of such MEMS-referenced oscillators. This approach is [...] Read more.
Self-sustained feedback oscillators referenced to MEMS/NEMS resonators have the potential for a wide range of applications in timing and sensing systems. In this paper, we describe a real-time temperature compensation approach to improving the long-term stability of such MEMS-referenced oscillators. This approach is implemented on a ~26.8 kHz self-sustained MEMS oscillator that integrates the fundamental in-plane mode resonance of a single-crystal silicon-on-insulator (SOI) resonator with a programmable and reconfigurable single-chip CMOS sustaining amplifier. Temperature compensation using a linear equation fit and look-up table (LUT) is used to obtain the near-zero closed-loop temperature coefficient of frequency (TCf) at around room temperature (~25 °C). When subject to small temperature fluctuations in an indoor environment, the temperature-compensated oscillator shows a >2-fold improvement in Allan deviation over the uncompensated counterpart on relatively long time scales (averaging time τ > 10,000 s), as well as overall enhanced stability throughout the averaging time range from τ = 1 to 20,000 s. The proposed temperature compensation algorithm has low computational complexity and memory requirement, making it suitable for implementation on energy-constrained platforms such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A 0.35-μm CMOS-MEMS Oscillator for High-Resolution Distributed Mass Detection
Micromachines 2018, 9(10), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9100484 - 22 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper presents the design, fabrication, and electrical characterization of an electrostatically actuated and capacitive sensed 2-MHz plate resonator structure that exhibits a predicted mass sensitivity of ~250 pg·cm−2·Hz−1. The resonator is embedded in a fully on-chip Pierce oscillator [...] Read more.
This paper presents the design, fabrication, and electrical characterization of an electrostatically actuated and capacitive sensed 2-MHz plate resonator structure that exhibits a predicted mass sensitivity of ~250 pg·cm−2·Hz−1. The resonator is embedded in a fully on-chip Pierce oscillator scheme, thus obtaining a quasi-digital output sensor with a short-term frequency stability of 1.2 Hz (0.63 ppm) in air conditions, corresponding to an equivalent mass noise floor as low as 300 pg·cm−2. The monolithic CMOS-MEMS sensor device is fabricated using a commercial 0.35-μm 2-poly-4-metal complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process, thus featuring low cost, batch production, fast turnaround time, and an easy platform for prototyping distributed mass sensors with unprecedented mass resolution for this kind of devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Array of Resonant Electromechanical Nanosystems: A Technological Breakthrough for Uncooled Infrared Imaging
Micromachines 2018, 9(8), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9080401 - 14 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Microbolometers arethe most common uncooled infrared techniques that allow 50 mK-temperature resolution to be achieved on-scene. However, this approach struggles with both self-heating, which is inherent to the resistive readout principle, and 1/f noise. We present an alternative approach that consists of using [...] Read more.
Microbolometers arethe most common uncooled infrared techniques that allow 50 mK-temperature resolution to be achieved on-scene. However, this approach struggles with both self-heating, which is inherent to the resistive readout principle, and 1/f noise. We present an alternative approach that consists of using micro/nanoresonators vibrating according to a torsional mode, and whose resonant frequency changes with the incident IR-radiation. Dense arrays of such electromechanical structures were fabricated with a 12 µm pitch at low temperature, allowing their integration on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) circuits according to a post-processing method. H-shape pixels with 9 µm-long nanorods and a cross-section of 250 nm × 30 nm were fabricated to provide large thermal responses, whose experimental measurements reached up to 1024 Hz/nW. These electromechanical resonators featured a noise equivalent power of 140 pW for a response time of less than 1 ms. To our knowledge, these performances are unrivaled with such small dimensions. We also showed that a temperature sensitivity of 20 mK within a 100 ms integration time is conceivable at a 12 µm pitch by co-integrating the resonators with their readout electronics, and suggesting a new readout scheme. This sensitivity could be reached short-term by depositing on top of the nanorods a vanadium oxide layer that had a phase-transition that could possibly enhance the thermal response by one order of magnitude. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Micro Magnetic Field Sensors Manufactured Using a Standard 0.18-μm CMOS Process
Micromachines 2018, 9(8), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9080393 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Micro magnetic field (MMF) sensors developed employing complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology are investigated. The MMF sensors, which are a three-axis sensing type, include a magnetotransistor and four Hall elements. The magnetotransistor is utilized to detect the magnetic field (MF) in the [...] Read more.
Micro magnetic field (MMF) sensors developed employing complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology are investigated. The MMF sensors, which are a three-axis sensing type, include a magnetotransistor and four Hall elements. The magnetotransistor is utilized to detect the magnetic field (MF) in the x-axis and y-axis, and four Hall elements are used to sense MF in the z-axis. In addition to emitter, bases and collectors, additional collectors are added to the magnetotransistor. The additional collectors enhance bias current and carrier number, so that the sensor sensitivity is enlarged. The MMF sensor fabrication is easy because it does not require post-CMOS processing. Experiments depict that the MMF sensor sensitivity is 0.69 V/T in the x-axis MF and its sensitivity is 0.55 V/T in the y-axis MF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
AFM-Based Characterization Method of Capacitive MEMS Pressure Sensors for Cardiological Applications
Micromachines 2018, 9(7), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9070342 - 06 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Current CMOS-micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication technologies permit cardiological implantable devices with sensing capabilities, such as the iStents, to be developed in such a way that MEMS sensors can be monolithically integrated together with a powering/transmitting CMOS circuitry. This system on chip fabrication allows [...] Read more.
Current CMOS-micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication technologies permit cardiological implantable devices with sensing capabilities, such as the iStents, to be developed in such a way that MEMS sensors can be monolithically integrated together with a powering/transmitting CMOS circuitry. This system on chip fabrication allows the devices to meet the crucial requirements of accuracy, reliability, low-power, and reduced size that any life-sustaining medical application imposes. In this regard, the characterization of stand-alone prototype sensors in an efficient but affordable way to verify sensor performance and to better recognize further areas of improvement is highly advisable. This work proposes a novel characterization method based on an atomic force microscope (AFM) in contact mode that permits to calculate the maximum deflection of the flexible top plate of a capacitive MEMS pressure sensor without coating, under a concentrated load applied to its center. The experimental measurements obtained with this method have allowed to verify the bending behavior of the sensor as predicted by simulation of analytical and finite element (FE) models. This validation process has been carried out on two sensor prototypes with circular and square geometries that were designed using a computer-aided design tool specially-developed for capacitive MEMS pressure sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Encapsulation of NEM Memory Switches for Monolithic-Three-Dimensional (M3D) CMOS–NEM Hybrid Circuits
Micromachines 2018, 9(7), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9070317 - 23 Jun 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Considering the isotropic release process of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMSs), defining the active region of NEM memory switches is one of the most challenging process technologies for the implementation of monolithic-three-dimensional (M3D) CMOS–NEM hybrid circuits. In this paper, we propose a novel encapsulation method [...] Read more.
Considering the isotropic release process of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMSs), defining the active region of NEM memory switches is one of the most challenging process technologies for the implementation of monolithic-three-dimensional (M3D) CMOS–NEM hybrid circuits. In this paper, we propose a novel encapsulation method of NEM memory switches. It uses alumina (Al2O3) passivation layers which are fully compatible with the CMOS baseline process. The Al2O3 bottom passivation layer can protect intermetal dielectric (IMD) and metal interconnection layers from the vapor hydrogen fluoride (HF) etching process. Thus, the controllable formation of the cavity for the mechanical movement of NEM devices can be achieved without causing any damage to CMOS baseline circuits as well as metal interconnection lines. As a result, NEM memory switches can be located in any place and metal layer of an M3D CMOS–NEM hybrid chip, which makes circuit design easier and more volume efficient. The feasibility of our proposed method is verified based on experimental results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel High-Precision Digital Tunneling Magnetic Resistance-Type Sensor for the Nanosatellites’ Space Application
Micromachines 2018, 9(3), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9030121 - 09 Mar 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) magnetic sensors are widely used in the nanosatellites field. We proposed a novel high-precision miniaturized three-axis digital tunneling magnetic resistance-type (TMR) sensor. The design of the three-axis digital magnetic sensor includes a low-noise sensitive element and high-performance interface circuit. The [...] Read more.
Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) magnetic sensors are widely used in the nanosatellites field. We proposed a novel high-precision miniaturized three-axis digital tunneling magnetic resistance-type (TMR) sensor. The design of the three-axis digital magnetic sensor includes a low-noise sensitive element and high-performance interface circuit. The TMR sensor element can achieve a background noise of 150 pT/Hz1/2 by the vertical modulation film at a modulation frequency of 5 kHz. The interface circuit is mainly composed of an analog front-end current feedback instrumentation amplifier (CFIA) with chopper structure and a fully differential 4th-order Sigma-Delta (ΣΔ) analog to digital converter (ADC). The low-frequency 1/f noise of the TMR magnetic sensor are reduced by the input-stage and system-stage chopper. The dynamic element matching (DEM) is applied to average out the mismatch between the input and feedback transconductor so as to improve the gain accuracy and gain drift. The digital output is achieved by a switched-capacitor ΣΔ ADC. The interface circuit is implemented by a 0.35 μm CMOS technology. The performance test of the TMR magnetic sensor system shows that: at a 5 V operating voltage, the sensor can achieve a power consumption of 120 mW, a full scale of ±1 Guass, a bias error of 0.01% full scale (FS), a nonlinearity of x-axis 0.13% FS, y-axis 0.11% FS, z-axis 0.15% FS and a noise density of x-axis 250 pT/Hz1/2 (at 1 Hz), y-axis 240 pT/Hz1/2 (at 1 Hz), z-axis 250 pT/Hz1/2 (at 1 Hz), respectively. This work has a less power consumption, a smaller size, and higher resolution than other miniaturized magnetometers by comparison. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Microhotplates for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Gas Sensor Applications—Towards the CMOS-MEMS Monolithic Approach
Micromachines 2018, 9(11), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9110557 - 29 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The recent development of the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare and indoor air quality monitoring expands the market for miniaturized gas sensors. Metal oxide gas sensors based on microhotplates fabricated with micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology dominate the market due to their balance [...] Read more.
The recent development of the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare and indoor air quality monitoring expands the market for miniaturized gas sensors. Metal oxide gas sensors based on microhotplates fabricated with micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology dominate the market due to their balance in performance and cost. Integrating sensors with signal conditioning circuits on a single chip can significantly reduce the noise and package size. However, the fabrication process of MEMS sensors must be compatible with the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits, which imposes restrictions on the materials and design. In this paper, the sensing mechanism, design and operation of these sensors are reviewed, with focuses on the approaches towards performance improvement and CMOS compatibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of CMOS-MEMS/NEMS Devices) Printed Edition available
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