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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development of thin film encapsulation process for piezoresistive MEMS gyroscope with wide gaps
by Ayanoor-Vitikkate, Vipin, Ph.D., Stanford University, 2008, 107; 3332985
Abstract (Summary)

The gyroscope is an inertial sensor used to measure the angular rate of a rotating object. This helps to determine the pitch and yaw rate of any moving body. A number of applications have been developed for consumer and automotive markets, for e.g. vehicle stability control, navigation assist, roll over detection. These are primarily used in high-end cars, where cost is not a major factor. Other areas where a MEMS Gyro can be used are robotics, camcorder stabilization, virtual reality, and more. Primarily due to cost and the size most of these applications have not reached any significant volume. One reason for this is the relatively high cost of MEMS gyros compared to other MEMS sensors like accelerometers or pressure sensors. Generally the cost of packaging a MEMS sensor is about 85-90% of the total cost. Currently most MEMS based gyroscopes are made using bulk or surface micromachining, after which they are packaged using wafer bonding. This unfortunately leads to wastage of silicon and increase in the package size, thus reducing the yield. One way to reduce the cost of packaging is by wafer scale thin film encapsulation of MEMS gyroscopes.

The goal of the present work is to fabricate a rate grade MEMS gyroscope and encapsulate it by modifying an existing thin-film encapsulation technique. Packaging is an important step towards commercialization of the device and we plan to use thin wafer scale encapsulation technique developed previously in our group to package these devices. The silicon micro machined gyroscope will be fabricated on SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) wafers using Bosch DRIE etching techniques. The encapsulation of the device is carried out using epitaxial polysilicon in order to provide a high vacuum inside the device chamber. The advantages offered by this technique are the reduction in area of the die and thus less silicon surface is wasted. In addition to this the encapsulation technique helps in creating a vacuum inside the micro device, which reduces the damping effects and hence increases the quality factor Q of the gyro thus increasing the sensitivity. For this purpose a silicon-based gyroscope has been designed, which will help in the characterization of the device. We hope to reduce the size and cost of MEMS gyros using technique while increasing the performance characteristics.

Indexing (document details)
School: Stanford University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 69/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering, Mechanical engineering, Materials science
Keywords: Gyroscope, Inertial sensors, MEMS, Oxidation of silicon beams, Thin film encapsulation, Wafer level encapsulation
Publication Number: 3332985
ISBN: 978-0-549-85111-0
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