Special Issue "Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems"

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

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

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

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ferri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Interests: sensor interfaces; electronics for sensors
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Stornelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, Via Camponeschi, 19, 67100 L'Aquila AQ, Italy
Interests: filters; integrated circuits; MMIC; sensors; sensors interfaces
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent advances in sensing technologies, especially those for Microsensor Integrated Systems, have led to several new commercial applications. Among these, low voltage and low power circuit architectures have gained growing attention, being suitable for portable long battery life devices. The aim is to improve the performances of actual interface circuits and systems, both in terms of voltage mode and current mode, in order to overcome the potential problems due to technology scaling and different technology integrations. Related problems, especially those concerning parasitics, lead to a severe interface design attention, especially concerning the analog front-end and novel and smart architecture must be explored and tested, both at simulation and prototype level. Moreover, the growing demand for autonomous systems gets even harder the interface design due to the need of energy-aware cost-effective circuit interfaces integrating, where possible, energy harvesting solutions. The objective of this Special Issue is to explore the potential solutions to overcome actual limitations in sensor interface circuits and systems, especially those for low voltage and low power Microsensor Integrated Systems. The present Special Issue aims to present and highlight the advances and the latest novel and emergent results on this topic, showing best practices, implementations and applications.

The Guest Editors invite to submit original research contributions dealing with sensor interfacing related to this specific topic. Additionally, application oriented and review papers are encouraged.

Prof. Giuseppe Ferri
Prof. Vincenzo Stornelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sensor Interfaces
  • Microsystems
  • Low Voltage Integrated Circuits
  • Current Mode
  • Sensor Systems

Published Papers (11 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Editorial
Editorial for the Special Issue on Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems
Micromachines 2018, 9(10), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9100527 - 17 Oct 2018
Viewed by 888
Abstract
Recent advances in sensing technologies, especially those for Microsensor Integrated Systems, have led to several new commercial applications. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Article
A Novel Electronic Interface for Micromachined Si-Based Photomultipliers
Micromachines 2018, 9(10), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9100507 - 08 Oct 2018
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 1224
Abstract
In this manuscript, the authors propose a novel interface for silicon photomultipliers based on a second-generation voltage conveyor as an active element, performing as a transimpedance amplifier. Due to the absence of internal feedback, this solution offers a static bandwidth regardless of the [...] Read more.
In this manuscript, the authors propose a novel interface for silicon photomultipliers based on a second-generation voltage conveyor as an active element, performing as a transimpedance amplifier. Due to the absence of internal feedback, this solution offers a static bandwidth regardless of the tunable gain level. The simulation results have shown good performances, confirming the possibility of the proposed interface being effectively used in different scenarios. A preliminary hybrid solution has also been developed using second-generation current conveyors and measurements conducted on an equivalent discrete-elements board, which is promising. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
On Frequency-Based Interface Circuits for Capacitive MEMS Accelerometers
Micromachines 2018, 9(10), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9100488 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1732
Abstract
Interface circuits for capacitive MEMS accelerometers are conventionally based on charge-based approaches. A promising alternative to these is provided by frequency-based readout techniques that have some unique advantages as well as a few challenges associated with them. This paper addresses these techniques and [...] Read more.
Interface circuits for capacitive MEMS accelerometers are conventionally based on charge-based approaches. A promising alternative to these is provided by frequency-based readout techniques that have some unique advantages as well as a few challenges associated with them. This paper addresses these techniques and presents a derivation of the fundamental resolution limits that are imposed on them by phase noise. Starting with an overview of basic operating principles, associated properties and challenges, the discussions then focus on the fundamental trade-offs between noise, power dissipation and signal bandwidth (BW) for the LC-oscillator-based frequency readout and for the conventional charge-based switched-capacitor (SC) readout. Closed-form analytical formulas are derived to facilitate a fair comparison between the two approaches. Benchmarking results indicate that, with the same bandwidth requirement, charge-based readout circuits are more suitable when optimizing for noise performance, while there is still some room for frequency-based techniques when optimizing for power consumption, especially when flicker phase noise can be mitigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Interrogation Techniques and Interface Circuits for Coil-Coupled Passive Sensors
Micromachines 2018, 9(9), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9090449 - 09 Sep 2018
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2118
Abstract
Coil-coupled passive sensors can be interrogated without contact, exploiting the magnetic coupling between two coils forming a telemetric proximity link. A primary coil connected to the interface circuit forms the readout unit, while a passive sensor connected to a secondary coil forms the [...] Read more.
Coil-coupled passive sensors can be interrogated without contact, exploiting the magnetic coupling between two coils forming a telemetric proximity link. A primary coil connected to the interface circuit forms the readout unit, while a passive sensor connected to a secondary coil forms the sensor unit. This work is focused on the interrogation of sensor units based on resonance, denoted as resonant sensor units, in which the readout signals are the resonant frequency and, possibly, the quality factor. Specifically, capacitive and electromechanical piezoelectric resonator sensor units are considered. Two interrogation techniques, namely a frequency-domain technique and a time-domain technique, have been analyzed, that are theoretically independent of the coupling between the coils which, in turn, ensure that the sensor readings are not affected by the interrogation distance. However, it is shown that the unavoidable parasitic capacitance in parallel to the readout coil introduces, for both techniques, an undesired dependence of the readings on the interrogation distance. This effect is especially marked for capacitance sensor units. A compensation circuit is innovatively proposed to counteract the effects of the parasitic input capacitance, and advantageously obtain distance-independent readings in real operating conditions. Experimental tests on a coil-coupled capacitance sensor with resonance at 5.45 MHz have shown a deviation within 1.5 kHz, i.e., 300 ppm, for interrogation distances of up to 18 mm. For the same distance range, with a coil-coupled quartz crystal resonator with a mechanical resonant frequency of 4.432 MHz, variations of less than 1.8 Hz, i.e., 0.5 ppm, have been obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Reconfigurable Sensor Analog Front-End Using Low-Noise Chopper-Stabilized Delta-Sigma Capacitance-to-Digital Converter
Micromachines 2018, 9(7), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9070347 - 10 Jul 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1955
Abstract
This paper proposes a reconfigurable sensor analog front-end using low-noise chopper-stabilized delta-sigma capacitance-to-digital converter (CDC) for capacitive microsensors. The proposed reconfigurable sensor analog front-end can drive both capacitive microsensors and voltage signals by direct conversion without a front-end amplifier. The reconfigurable scheme of [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a reconfigurable sensor analog front-end using low-noise chopper-stabilized delta-sigma capacitance-to-digital converter (CDC) for capacitive microsensors. The proposed reconfigurable sensor analog front-end can drive both capacitive microsensors and voltage signals by direct conversion without a front-end amplifier. The reconfigurable scheme of the front-end can be implemented in various multi-mode applications, where it is equipped with a fully integrated temperature sensor. A chopper stabilization technique is implemented here to achieve a low-noise characteristic by reducing unexpected low-frequency noises such as offsets and flicker noise. The prototype chip of the proposed sensor analog front-end is fabricated by a standard 0.18-μm 1-poly-6-metal (1P6M) complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process. It occupies a total active area of 5.37 mm2 and achieves an effective resolution of 16.3-bit. The total power consumption is 0.843 mW with a 1.8 V power supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Resonant Directly Coupled Inductors–Capacitors Ladder Network Shows a New, Interesting Property Useful for Application in the Sensor Field, Down to Micrometric Dimensions
Micromachines 2018, 9(7), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9070343 - 07 Jul 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1402
Abstract
The study of ladder networks made by sequences of directly coupled inductor–capacitor single cells has led us to discover a new property, which may be of certain interest in the sensor field. In the case of n cells, the n-frequencies vector characterizing each [...] Read more.
The study of ladder networks made by sequences of directly coupled inductor–capacitor single cells has led us to discover a new property, which may be of certain interest in the sensor field. In the case of n cells, the n-frequencies vector characterizing each node may allow for the identification of that capacitor (sensor), which has experienced a variation of its nominal value. This localization is possible independently from the observable node of the ladder network as proven by the application of the following multivariate data analysis techniques: principal component analysis and partial least square discriminant analysis. This property can be applied on a large scale down to micrometric dimensions in agreement with the technologic ability to shrink the capacitive sensor dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Evolution of Integrated Interfaces for MEMS Microphones
Micromachines 2018, 9(7), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9070323 - 26 Jun 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2413
Abstract
Over the last decade, MEMS microphones have become the leading solution for implementing the audio module in most portable devices. One of the main drivers for the success of the MEMS microphone has been the continuous improvement of the corresponding integrated interface circuit [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, MEMS microphones have become the leading solution for implementing the audio module in most portable devices. One of the main drivers for the success of the MEMS microphone has been the continuous improvement of the corresponding integrated interface circuit performance in terms of both dynamic range and power consumption, which enabled the introduction in mobile devices of additional functionalities, such as Hi-Fi audio recording or voice commands. As a result, MEMS microphone interface circuits evolved from just simple amplification stages to complex mixed-signal circuits, including A/D converters, with ever improving performance. This paper provides an overview of such evolution based on actual design examples, focusing, finally, on the latest cutting-edge solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Chopper-Stabilized Instrumentation Amplifier with Automatic Frequency Tuning Loop
Micromachines 2018, 9(6), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9060289 - 08 Jun 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2005
Abstract
A variable-gain chopper-stabilized instrumentation amplifier (chopper IA), which employs a low pass filter (LPF) to attenuate the up-converted noise at the chopping frequency, is presented. The circuit is designed and fabricated with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) (Hsinchu, Taiwan) 0.18 μm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor [...] Read more.
A variable-gain chopper-stabilized instrumentation amplifier (chopper IA), which employs a low pass filter (LPF) to attenuate the up-converted noise at the chopping frequency, is presented. The circuit is designed and fabricated with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) (Hsinchu, Taiwan) 0.18 μm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Consuming 1.1 mW from a 1.2 V supply voltage, the chopper IA achieves a variable gain of 20.7–48.5 dB, with a minimum bandwidth of 6.7 kHz and a common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR) of 95 dB below 10 kHz. By using the chopper technique, the input-referred noise of the chopper IA can be reduced to 0.28 μVrms (0~96 kHz), with a chopping frequency of 83.3 kHz. An automatic frequency tuning loop (ATL) is employed to adjust the corner frequency of the LPF dynamically so that the frequency ratio between the chopping frequency and the LPF corner frequency is 8.3, ensuring a noise reduction of 36.7 dB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Low Power Energy-Efficient Precision CMOS Temperature Sensor
Micromachines 2018, 9(6), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9060257 - 24 May 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1351
Abstract
This paper presents a low power, energy-efficient precision CMOS temperature sensor. The front-end circuit is based on bipolar junction transistors, and employs a pre-bias circuit and bipolar core. To reduce measurement errors arising from current ratio mismatch, a new dynamic element-matching mode is [...] Read more.
This paper presents a low power, energy-efficient precision CMOS temperature sensor. The front-end circuit is based on bipolar junction transistors, and employs a pre-bias circuit and bipolar core. To reduce measurement errors arising from current ratio mismatch, a new dynamic element-matching mode is proposed, which dynamically matches all current sources in the front-end circuit. The first-order fitting and third-order fitting are used to calibrate the output results. On the basis of simulation results, the sensor achieves 3σ-inaccuracies of +0.18/−0.13 °C from −55 °C to +125 °C. Measurement results demonstrate sensor 3σ-inaccuracies of ±0.2 °C from 0 °C to +100 °C. The circuit is implemented in 0.18 μm CMOS, and consumes 6.1 μA with a 1.8 V supply voltage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
An Adaptable Interface Conditioning Circuit Based on Triboelectric Nanogenerators for Self-Powered Sensors
Micromachines 2018, 9(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9030105 - 01 Mar 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2408
Abstract
In order to solve the limited life problem of typical battery power supply, a self-powered method that is based on the environmental energy harvesting has emerged as an amazing power supply approach. The Tribo-electric-Nano-generator (TENG) has been widely studied because of its high [...] Read more.
In order to solve the limited life problem of typical battery power supply, a self-powered method that is based on the environmental energy harvesting has emerged as an amazing power supply approach. The Tribo-electric-Nano-generator (TENG) has been widely studied because of its high efficiency, low fabrication cost, and high output voltage. However, low output power conversion efficiency has restricted its practical application because of its own extremely high output impedance. In order to match the high output impedance of TENG and increase the output power, this paper presents an adaptable interface conditioning circuit, which is composed of an impedance matching circuit, a synchronous rectifier bridge, a control circuit, and an energy storage device. In the impedance matching circuit, the energy loss of coupling inductance could be reduced by using the bi-directional switch to increase the frequency, and impedance matching circuit can be used to increase the output efficiency of TENG. Experimental results show that, in about 3.6 s, the storing capacitor voltage was basically stable at 5.5 V by using the proposed adapted interface conditioning circuit in this paper. The charging efficiency has increased by 50%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Review
Recent Progress in Rapid Sintering of Nanosilver for Electronics Applications
Micromachines 2018, 9(7), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9070346 - 10 Jul 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2167
Abstract
Recently, nanosilver pastes have emerged as one of the most promising high temperature bonding materials for high frequency and high power applications, which provide an effective lead-free electronic packaging solution instead of high-lead and gold-based solders. Although nanosilver pastes can be sintered at [...] Read more.
Recently, nanosilver pastes have emerged as one of the most promising high temperature bonding materials for high frequency and high power applications, which provide an effective lead-free electronic packaging solution instead of high-lead and gold-based solders. Although nanosilver pastes can be sintered at lower temperature compared to bulk silver, applications of nanosilver pastes are limited by long-term sintering time (20–30 min), relative high sintering temperature (>250 °C), and applied external pressure, which may damage chips and electronic components. Therefore, low temperature rapid sintering processes that can obtain excellent nanosilver joints are anticipated. In this regard, we present a review of recent progress in the rapid sintering of nanosilver pastes. Preparation of nanosilver particles and pastes, mechanisms of nanopastes sintering, and different rapid sintering processes are discussed. Emphasis is placed on the properties of sintered joints obtained by different sintering processes such as electric current assisted sintering, spark plasma sintering, and laser sintering, etc. Although the research on rapid sintering processes for nanosilver pastes has made a great breakthrough over the past few decades, investigations on mechanisms of rapid sintering, and the performance of joints fabricated by pastes with different compositions and morphologies are still far from enough. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interface Circuits for Microsensor Integrated Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop