CMOS Circuits for MEMS Aluminum Nitride Inertial Sensors (MINT)
Bernhard Boser, Richard Przybyla, Igor Izyumin and Mitchell Kline
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Aluminum Nitride (AlN) is a piezoelectric material that has gained widespread use in filters for mobile phones. However, AlN is also a promising material for use in MEMS sensors because of its mechanical properties and low temperature, CMOS-compatible deposition. In this project, we are working with multi-disciplinary team to develop AlN micromachined ultrasound transducers, AlN accelerometers, and AlN gyroscopes. The piezoelectric properties of the material yield performance benefits over the standard, electrostatic MEMS because they do not require bulky comb drives and do not suffer the same non-linearities. In the last year, we have demonstrated an AlN accelerometer and a velocity sensor with sub-mm/sec resolution based on an AlN ultrasound transducer.
Figure 1: Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer showing the out of plane motion of a z-axis Aluminum Nitride accelerometer.
Figure 2: Optical photograph of array of Aluminum Nitride piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic sensors.