A novel quasi-digital detection method of micro differentialcapacitance in micro-accelerometers
SONG Xing*, FANG Jiancheng, YI Ranran, SHENG Wei Novel Inertial Instrument & Navigation System Technology Lab, Beijing University of Aeronauticsand Astronautics
Beijing 100083, China
This paper proposed a novel method of sensing the weak differential capacitance change of Micro-Electro-MechanicalSystems (MEMS) accelerometer with sandwich structure. The detection circuit mainly consisted of frequency selectivenetworks, Phase Locked Loop (PLL), logical gate and low-pass filter. The two elemental capacitances of differentialcapacitance respectively harmonic oscillated in two parameter symmetry resonance units. Beating wave representedwhen the two output signals with different frequency had passed the logical gate and low-pass filter in turn. Thefrequency of beating wave was proportional to the sensing differential capacitance. One of the most important aspects of using circuit resonance elements with MEMS technology was the elimination of analog voltage amplitude measurementused in conventional MEMS accelerometers. On the other hand, this method overcame the disadvantages of conventionalmechanical resonance accelerometers, with frequency output and high Signal Noise Ratio (SNR), such as poor dynamicresponse, temperature drift, complex structure and large power dissipation. According to the numerical simulation results,the circuit resonance detector with PLL can reach high capacitance resolution:
: MEMS, MEMS accelerometer, circuit resonance, differential capacitance, Phase Locked Loop (PLL).
Micromachined accelerometers have extensive potential applications in many fields, such as aerospace, automotive,consumer electronics, robotics and biomedical engineering . Hence, there has been intensive study of a variety of micromachined accelerometers with different sensitive structures and different detection methods during the last fewyears [2, 3]. Capacitance Micro Electrical Mechanical System (MEMS) sensors have the advantages of simple structure,fine dynamic response, high resolution and low temperature drift, which are activated by electrostatic force and sensedby capacitance variation[4, 5]. This kind of accelerometer is popular in inertial measurement field and effective for highperformance sensors .Capacitance MEMS accelerators can measure the acceleration by sensing the inner capacitance change due to theplacement of sensing mass. The interface circuit performance is currently the bottleneck of MEMS accelerometers.There are two main difficulties: Firstly, the sensing capacitance is so small that parasitic capacitance and other noises arehundreds times larger than the useful capacitance .According to the computation, the variable parameter of measuredcapacitance is usually just
, while the variance of parasitic capacitance can reach
. On the other hand, it isdifficult to achieve high stabilization and precise measurement as the analog output is accessible to environmenttemperature and electromagnetic interference (EMI) .Currently, two kinds of analog and one kind of quasi-digital measuring method was mainly used for weak capacitancedetection: switch demodulation, sinusoidal demodulation and mechanical resonance, while both experimental results andtheoretical analysis shown that these three kinds of measurement method were not well enough for high performancemicro silicon accelerometers. Obvious disadvantages of analog measuring method were low SNR, accessible to disturband complex interface circuit, while the biggest problems of mechanical resonant method were poor dynamic response,high temperature drift, complex structure and large power dissipation.
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