This paper reports on the fabrication and characterization of a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor-Microelectromechanical System (CMOS-MEMS) device with embedded microheater operated at relatively elevated temperatures (40 °C to 80 °C) for the purpose of relative humidity measurement. The sensing principle is based on the change in amplitude of the device due to adsorption or desorption of humidity on the active material layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles deposited on the moving plate, which results in changes in the mass of the device. The sensor has been designed and fabricated through a standard 0.35 µm CMOS process technology and post-CMOS micromachining technique has been successfully implemented to release the MEMS structures. The sensor is operated in the dynamic mode using electrothermal actuation and the output signal measured using a piezoresistive (PZR) sensor connected in a Wheatstone bridge circuit. The output voltage of the humidity sensor increases from 0.585 mV to 30.580 mV as the humidity increases from 35% RH to 95% RH. The output voltage is found to be linear from 0.585 mV to 3.250 mV as the humidity increased from 35% RH to 60% RH, with sensitivity of 0.107 mV/% RH; and again linear from 3.250 mV to 30.580 mV as the humidity level increases from 60% RH to 95% RH, with higher sensitivity of 0.781 mV/% RH. On the other hand, the sensitivity of the humidity sensor increases linearly from 0.102 mV/% RH to 0.501 mV/% RH with increase in the temperature from 40 °C to 80 °C and a maximum hysteresis of 0.87% RH is found at a relative humidity of 80%. The sensitivity is also frequency dependent, increasing from 0.500 mV/% RH at 2 Hz to reach a maximum value of 1.634 mV/% RH at a frequency of 12 Hz, then decreasing to 1.110 mV/% RH at a frequency of 20 Hz. Finally, the CMOS-MEMS humidity sensor showed comparable response, recovery, and repeatability of measurements in three cycles as compared to a standard sensor that directly measures humidity in % RH.
Over the last couple of decades, the advancement in Microelectromechanical System (MEMS) devices is highly demanded for integrating the economically miniaturized sensors with fabricating technology. A sensor is a system that detects and responds to multiple physical inputs and converting them into analogue or digital forms. The sensor transforms these variations into a form which can be utilized as a marker to monitor the device variable. MEMS exhibits excellent feasibility in miniaturization sensors due to its small dimension, low power consumption, superior performance, and, batch-fabrication. This article presents the recent developments in standard actuation and sensing mechanisms that can serve MEMS-based devices, which is expected to revolutionize almost many product categories in the current era. The featured principles of actuating, sensing mechanisms and real-life applications have also been discussed. Proper understanding of the actuating and sensing mechanisms for the MEMS-based devices can play a vital role in effective selection for novel and complex application design.
The optical constants of Para-Toluene sulfonic acid-doped polyaniline (PANI), PANIchitosan composites, PANI-reduced graphene-oxide composites and a ternary composite comprising of PANI, chitosan and reduced graphene-oxide dispersed in diluted p-toluene sulfonic acid (PTSA) solution and N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent have been evaluated and compared. The optical constant values were extracted from the absorbance spectra of thin layers of the respective samples. The potential utilization of the materials as the active sensing materials of surface plasmon resonance biosensors has also been assessed in terms of the estimated value of the penetration depth through a dielectric medium. The results show a reasonable dependence of the optical constant parameters on the solvent type. Higher real part refractive index (n) and real part complex dielectric permittivity (ε') values were observed for the samples prepared using PTSA solution, while higher optical conductivity values were observed for the NMP-based samples due to their relatively higher imaginary part refractive index (k) and imaginary part complex dielectric permittivity (ε″) values. In addition, NMP-based samples show improvement in terms of the penetration depth through a dielectric medium by around 9.5, 1.6, 4.4 and 2.9 times compared to PTSA-based samples for the PANI, PANI-chitosan, PANI-RGO and the ternary composites, respectively. Based on these, it is concluded that preparation of these materials using different dispersion solvents could produce materials of different optical properties. Thus, the variation of the dispersion solvent will allow the flexible utilization of the PANI and the composites for diverse applications.