Design, Fabrication and Characterization of MEMS Gyroscopes Based on Frequency Modulation
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Conventional amplitude modulated (AM) open loop MEMS gyroscopes experience a significant performance trade-off between having a large bandwidth or high sensitivity. It is impossible to improve both metrics at the same time without increasing the mass of the gyroscope or introducing a closed loop (force feedback) system into the device design. Introducing a closed loop system or increasing the proof mass on the other hand will surge power consumption. Consequently, it is difficult to maintain consistently high performance while scaling down the device size. Furthermore, bias stability, bias repeatability, reliability, nonlinearity and other performance metrics remain primary concerns as designers look to expand MEMS gyroscopes into areas like space, military and navigation applications. Industries and academics carried out extensive research to address these limitations in conventional AM MEMS gyroscope design. This research primarily aims to improve MEMS gyroscope performance by integrating a frequency modulated (FM) readout system into the design using a cantilever beam and microplate design. The FM resonance sensing approach has been demonstrated to provide better performance than the traditional AM sensing method in similar applications (e.g., Atomic Force Microscope). The cantilever beam MEMS gyroscope is specifically designed to minimize error sources that corrupt the Coriolis signal such as operating temperature, vibration and packaging stress. Operating temperature imposes enormous challenges to gyroscope design, introducing a thermal noise and drift that degrades device performance. The cantilever beam mass gyroscope system is free on one side and can therefore minimize noise caused by both thermal effects and packaging stress. The cantilever beam design is also robust to vibrations (it can reject vibrations by sensing the orthogonally arranged secondary gyroscope) and minimizes cross-axis sensitivity. By alleviating the negative impacts of operating environment in MEMS gyroscope design, reliable, robust and high-performance angular rate measurements can be realized, leading to a wide range of applications including dynamic vehicle control, navigation/guidance systems, and IOT applications. The FM sensing approach was also investigated using a traditional crab-leg design. Tested under the same conditions, the crab-leg design provided a direct point of comparison for assessing the performance of the cantilever beam gyroscope. To verify the feasibility of the FM detection method, these gyroscopes were fabricated using commercially available MIDIS™ process (Teledyne Dalsa Inc.), which provides 2 μm capacitive gaps and 30 μm structural layer thickness. The process employs 12 masks and hermetically sealed (10mTorr) packaging to ensure a higher quality factor. The cantilever beam gyroscope is designed such that the driving and sensing mode resonant frequency is 40.8 KHz with 0.01% mismatch. Experimental results demonstrated that the natural frequency of the first two modes shift linearly with the angular speed and demonstrate high transducer sensitivity. Both the cantilever beam and crab-leg gyroscopes showed a linear dynamic range up to 1500 deg/s, which was limited by the experimental test setup. However, we also noted that the cantilever beam design has several advantages over traditional crab-leg devices, including simpler dynamics and control, bias stability and bias repeatability. Furthermore, the single-port sensing method implemented in this research improves the electronic performance and therefore enhances sensitivity by eliminating the need to measure vibrations via a secondary mode. The single-port detection mechanism could also simplify the IC architecture. Rate table characterization at both high (110 oC) and low (22 oC) temperatures showed minimal changes in sensitivity performance even in the absence of temperature compensation mechanism and active control, verifying the improved robustness of the design concept. Due to significant die area reduction, the cantilever design can feasibly address high-volume consumer market demand for low cost, and high-volume production using a silicon wafer for the structural part. The results of this work introduce and demonstrate a new paradigm in MEMS gyroscope design, where thermal and vibration rejection capability is achieved solely by the mechanical system, negating the need for active control and compensation strategies.
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Dawit (David) Effa (2018). Design, Fabrication and Characterization of MEMS Gyroscopes Based on Frequency Modulation. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13490
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