Geometric Optimization of van der Pauw Structure based MEMS Pressure Sensors

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper characterizes a piezoresistive sensor under variations of both size and orientation with respect to the silicon crystal lattice for its application to MEMS pressure sensing. The sensor to be studied is a four-terminal piezoresistive sensor commonly referred to as a van der Pauw (VDP) structure. It is observed that the sensitivity of the VDP sensor is over three times higher than the conventional filament type Wheatstone bridge resistor. With MEMS devices being used in applications which continually necessitate smaller size, characterizing the effect of size and orientation of a VDP structure on the performance of a MEMS pressure sensor is important. In this paper, the effect of relative size and misalignment of the VDP sensor on the sensitivity is investigated using a coupled piezoresistive/stress finite element model. The mode is developed to simulate the full field stress over the deformed diaphragm in which the VDP is diffused. The change in resistivity of the VDP is then analyzed to predict the sensitivity of the VDP structure. Sensor size, position relative to the diaphragm, and angular misalignment of the VDP were varied to determine a theoretical result for the dependence of VDP output on those parameters. It is determined that the performance of the sensor is strongly dependent only on the longitudinal position of the sensor on the diaphragm, and is relatively tolerant of other errors in the manufacturing process such as transverse position, sensor depth, and orientation angle.



Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users