This work has been focused on the design, simulation, fabrication and characterization of silicon microcantilevers based mass sensors. The T-shape cantilever was designed as a structure formed by 3 cantilevers that are hold together by means of an extra rectangular mass. Cantilevers were driven at their mechanical resonance in flexural mode perpendicular to the substrate by a ceramic-insulated multilayer piezoactuator PZT glued at the backside and the resonance frequency was monitored by reading the signal generated by four piezoresistors in a Wheatstone bridge configuration. Several cantilevers structures have been fabricated with different process, dimensions and geometries, its operation verified and their mechanical and electrical performance evaluated. Device performance was compared with analytical model and simulation predictions obtained using ANSYS achieving good agreement. Two different structures were selected based on the high resonance frequency and quality factor values. For the first cantilever of 400μm long, 300μm wide and 15μm thick, the fundamental and second resonance frequency in air were 97kHz and 690kHz respectively, both with a quality factor of ~800. And for the second cantilever of 200μm long, 150μm wide, 15μm thick the fundamental resonance frequency in air was 400kHz with a quality factor of ~900. The devices were characterized as mass sensor attaching microspheres of polystyrene to the cantilever’s surface tip and measuring resonance frequency changes. For the first cantilever mass sensitivity values of 12,4pg/Hz and 3,1pg/Hz for the fundamental and second mode respectively were achieved and 0,8pg/Hz for the second cantilever. Also the cantilevers were characterized as gas sensor, covering the cantilever’s surface tip with PDMS, exposing it to ethanol vapor and measuring resonance frequency changes. For the first cantilever ethanol sensitivity values of 13,2ppm/Hz were achieved and 0,6ppm/Hz for the second cantilever. These results show the great potential for high sensitive sensor of this simple device.
|Date of Award||25 Oct 2010|
|Supervisor||Eduardo Figueras Costa (Director)|