(19)
(11)EP 2 711 677 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.02.2019 Bulletin 2019/07

(21)Application number: 12185960.7

(22)Date of filing:  25.09.2012
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01L 9/00(2006.01)
G01L 11/04(2006.01)
G01L 19/00(2006.01)
B81C 1/00(2006.01)

(54)

Mems resonator pressure sensor

MEMS-Resonatordrucksensor

Capteur de pression de résonateur mems


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
26.03.2014 Bulletin 2014/13

(60)Divisional application:
18207751.1

(73)Proprietor: ams International AG
8640 Rapperswil-Jona (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • PHAN LE, Kim
    Redhil, Surrey RH1 1NY (GB)
  • BESLING, Willem F.A.
    5615 JN Eindhoven (NL)

(74)Representative: Epping - Hermann - Fischer 
Patentanwaltsgesellschaft mbH Postfach 20 07 34
80007 München
80007 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A- 5 352 918
US-A1- 2008 184 804
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] This invention relates to MEMS pressure sensors.

    [0002] Pressure sensors are used often in consumer electronics for instance in weather stations, in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems for buildings, altimeters in watches or hand-held equipment for skydivers and mountain climbers, in automotive applications such as for tyre pressure measurements, and various medical applications.

    [0003] Since the last decade, MEMS technology has been utilized for pressure sensors with the aim to miniaturize the device's form-factor, and to reduce power consumption and cost. In addition, MEMS technology allows in principle monolithic integration with CMOS circuits that are used for control, signal readout and communication. As a result of MEMS technology, pressure sensors are now present in many tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) integrated into the tyre valve or rim, or in watches and mobile devices for altitude measurements.

    [0004] The most common principle of MEMS pressure sensor uses a piezoresistive strain gauge attached on a thin membrane that covers a hermetic cavity. A fixed pressure is kept inside the cavity. When the pressure outside changes, the membrane deflects which causes the resistance of the strain gauge to change due to the piezoresistive effect. The resistance change is the indication of the pressure change.

    [0005] Another popular technique is to use the capacitance change between a membrane and a fixed surface of the cavity as a measurement of pressure. This technique requires lower power. However, this technique may be prone to electrical field interference from outside if the sensor is not shielded properly. The required sub femto-Farad readout with atto-Farad accuracy of the capacitance changes requires very sophisticated readout circuits which must have excellent stability against temperature changes.

    [0006] A relatively newer technique is to use a resonant device, for instance a MEMS resonator to measure pressure. A typical example of such device is mentioned e.g. in the article "A silicon micromachined resonant pressure sensor" by Zhangyang Tang et al, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 188 (2009) 012042. In this device, a resonator is attached via at least two anchors to the inner side of a membrane that seals a vacuum cavity. When the membrane deflects due to pressure changes, the stress of the membrane makes the stiffness of the resonator change, which results in its resonant frequency changing.

    [0007] The resonant frequency of a resonator is generally described as ω=√(k/m), in which k is the stiffness and m is the mass of the resonator. Resonant pressure sensors have been shown to exhibit better pressure sensitivity and lower temperature sensitivity than piezoresistive sensors.

    [0008] An example of the construction of a prior-art resonant pressure sensor is shown in Figure 1. There is a cavity 10 formed on a common substrate 12. A membrane (diaphragm) 14 covers one side of the cavity. A fixed (low) pressure is kept inside the cavity. A resonator 16 is attached via at least two anchors 18 to the inner side of the membrane. When the pressure changes, the change in the deflection of the membrane induces stress change in the resonator via the anchors, which finally leads to resonant frequency change.

    [0009] To have larger sensitivity, the area of the membrane should be large, so that the device can convert the same pressure to a larger force, and the thickness of the membrane should be small enough to concentrate the stress change mainly to the resonator. In addition, the pressure inside the cavity should be kept low, preferably in vacuum to reduce air damping on the resonator. Low air damping is crucial for MEMS resonators to ensure high quality factor.

    [0010] With the MEMS technology, to realize such a large and thin membrane which has no support in the middle and can withstand at least 1bar of atmosphere is generally very difficult. Due to the initial stress the membrane may collapse or may develop cracks after fabrication. For example, a Si-membrane is likely to collapse at 1 bar when it is larger than about 100 µm and has a thickness less than 1.5 µm.

    [0011] Document US 2008/0184804 A1 describes a resonator measurement device. A pressure sensor measures a pressure difference between a chamber maintained at a reference pressure and the air surrounding the pressure sensor. Moreover, the device comprises a resonator and means for measuring a resonant frequency of the resonator. The resonator comprises a silicon plate located in the chamber. The resonant frequency of the silicon plate is a function of the pressure difference between the air and the chamber. The silicon plate is embedded at one of its ends at a body of the resonator and at the other of its ends on a thinned wall of the chamber.

    [0012] Document US 5,352,918 A refers to a capacitative micro-sensor with a low stray capacity. A pressure sensor comprises a lower plate formed as a thin diaphragm, a stud contacting the diaphragm, a frame and a silicon strip extending between the stud and the frame. An upper plate, the lower plate and the frame define a cavity. Variations of an external pressure deform the diaphragm and create stress in the strip. This stress variation causes variation of the resonance frequency of a capacitive resonator formed by the strip and the upper plate.

    [0013] It is an object to provide a pressure sensor and a method of fabricating a pressure sensor.

    [0014] This object is solved by the subject-matter of the independent claims.

    [0015] In one aspect, the invention provides a pressure sensor according to claim 1.

    [0016] The MEMS resonator comprises two anchors at each end of the beam, a first which connects to the fixed base and a second which connects to the top membrane, wherein the first anchor at one end is on an opposite lateral side of the beam to the first anchor at the other end, and the second anchor at one end is on an opposite lateral side of the beam to the second anchor at the other end.

    [0017] This defines a diagonal arrangement of anchors, with fixed anchors at the ends of one diagonal and movable anchors at the ends of the opposite diagonal. The resonant oscillation induces bending in the plane of the beam, and the pressure causes torsional strain as indicated above.

    [0018] The MEMS resonator can comprise a resonator mass formed from a portion of the top silicon layer of a buried oxide substrate arrangement, and the fixed base can be the bottom silicon substrate.

    [0019] The pressure sensor preferably has an actuation electrode for actuating the MEMS resonator and a sense electrode for sensing the MEMS resonator oscillations, and a feedback control circuit for sustaining resonator oscillations.

    [0020] The pressure sensor can further comprise:
    a reference (or calibration) sensor, wherein the reference (or calibration) sensor comprises:

    a MEMS resonator formed within a cavity, wherein the cavity comprises a fixed base and a top membrane which deforms in response to the pressure to be sensed,

    wherein the MEMS resonator comprises a resonator mass which is anchored only to the fixed base.



    [0021] In this arrangement, the reference sensor is not sensitive to the deformation of the top membrane since it is not connected to it. It is used for example to compensate for temperature variations, by monitoring changes in sensor signal which are not caused by the sensed pressure.

    [0022] The invention also provides a method of fabricating a pressure sensor according to claim 6.

    [0023] Examples of the invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 shows a known MEMS resonant pressure sensor;

    Figure 2 shows a cross-section of an example of pressure sensor not forming part of the invention;

    Figure 3 shows a top view of a resonator according to the invention;

    Figure 4 shows a cross-sectional view across the resonator beam of Figure 3;

    Figure 5 shows an enlarged view of the Figure 4 when the membrane deflects;

    Figure 6 shows a simulated sensitivity curve of the sensor of Figures 3 to 5;

    Figure 7 shows a top view of an example of resonator not forming part of the invention;

    Figure 8 shows a top view of another example of resonator not forming part of the invention;

    Figure 9 shows a schematic circuit diagram of the circuit incorporating the pressure sensor; and

    Figure 10 shows an example of process flow for forming the resonator part of the pressure sensor of the invention.



    [0024] The invention provides a resonant MEMS pressure sensor in which the resonator mass of the MEMS resonator is anchored both to the fixed base beneath the resonator cavity as well as to the top membrane over the resonator cavity. This provides a more robust fixing of the resonator mass.

    [0025] Figure 2 shows a cross-section of an example of MEMS resonant pressure sensor not forming part of the invention.

    [0026] The pressure sensor has a substrate 20, which can for example be made of a semiconductor material such as Si, SiGe, etc, or a different type of material such as Si oxide, Al oxide, etc.

    [0027] A cavity 22 is formed over the substrate 20. The cavity can be made inside the substrate (using so-called MEMS bulk micromachining), or made on top of the substrate (using so-called MEMS surface micromachining).

    [0028] A membrane 24 (also called cap) covers one side of the cavity, and makes the cavity hermetic. The pressure inside the cavity is preferably lower than atmospheric pressure for low air damping of the resonator. The membrane 24 can be made from a semiconductor material, such as Si, poly Si, SiGe, or a compound such as Si nitride, Si oxide, or a metal, alloy, etc.

    [0029] A MEMS resonator 26 is built inside the cavity. The MEMS device can be made of the same material as the substrate (e.g. Si), or a different material (e.g. SiGe).

    [0030] The resonator has at least two anchors 28a, 28b, in which at least one anchor 28a is attached to the fixed substrate 20, and which can be considered to be a fixed anchor, and at least one anchor 28b is attached to the membrane 24 and which can be considered to be a moveable anchor.

    [0031] The resonator can be of any type, such as a flexural mode resonator or extensional mode resonator. The transduction method of the resonator can be capacitive, piezoresistive, piezoelectric, or based on a thermally excited principle, etc.

    [0032] The construction of the resonator should be such that when strain is induced between the moveable and fixed anchors, the resonator's stiffness is changed, thus its resonant frequency is changed. This strain is induced by the external pressure (shown as P) applied to the pressure sensor, so that the resonator has a resonant frequency which is dependent on the incident pressure.

    [0033] According to the invention, the resonator is a clamped-clamped beam resonator with four anchors. Two anchors are provided at opposite lateral sides of each end of the beam 30.

    [0034] Figure 3 shows the top view of an example of resonator. The resonator has an in-plane mode shape, where the beam alternatively bends to the left and to the right (of the drawing in Figure 3). Each end of the beam 30 is attached (clamped) to two anchors, in which one anchor is attached to the substrate and the other is attached to the membrane. Thus, each beam end has a fixed anchor 28a and a movable anchor 28b.

    [0035] The positions of the moveable and fixed anchors of both ends of the resonator are arranged in the point-symmetry configuration, in which the middle of the resonator beam is the centre of symmetry. For instance, in Figure 3, the upper end of the beam has two anchors: the left anchor is moveable and the right anchor is fixed. The lower end of the beam has two anchors, in which the left anchor is fixed while the right anchor is moveable.

    [0036] In this way, when the membrane deflects in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing in Figure 3, the two moveable anchors are moved also in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing, while the two fixed anchors are fixed to the substrate. In this way, the resonator beam is twisted along its axis when the membrane deflects. This gives rise to a stiffness change. The stiffness change finally results in a frequency change, which can be readout as a measurement of pressure change.

    [0037] Figure 4 shows the cross-sectional view across the resonator beam (the longitudinal direction of the beam 30 is perpendicular to the plane of the drawing in Figure 4).

    [0038] Figure 5 shows an enlarged view of the resonator in the cross-section view, looking along the resonator beam, when the membrane deflects.

    [0039] In Figure 5, one end of the beam and the associated two anchors are shown in solid lines and the other end and the associated two anchors are shown in dotted lines.

    [0040] The actuation and sensing electrodes of the resonator are preferably attached to the substrate, spaced from the edges of the resonator beam by small gaps (not shown in the figures).

    [0041] To demonstrate the principle, finite element simulations have been performed based on a model of the resonator structure. The model consists of a membrane made of Si, measuring 100µm x 100µm (lateral dimensions) x 1.5µm (thickness). In order to evacuate air inside the cavity, the membrane contains many vent holes. After evacuating, the holes are plugged by aluminium blocks. These are also taken into account in the modeling. The blocks need to be small enough and separated to reduce the stiffness of the membrane. Under the membrane there is a clamped-clamped beam resonator as described above.

    [0042] Various pressures around 1 bar are set on top of the membrane to simulate the ambient air pressure.

    [0043] In the modeled design, the resonant frequency is 23.813MHz. The resonant mode shape of the resonator is in-plane. That means, during vibration, the beam bends sideways, within in the plane of the membrane.

    [0044] The simulation was performed with different ambient pressures, and the sensitivity curve is shown in Figure 6. The sensitivity is 46 Hz/mbar, which is about the same as in the case when all anchors of the same resonator are attached to the membrane as in the known prior-art. The advantage of the construction of the invention is that the membrane can be significantly more robust since it is supported through the resonator structure at the middle.

    [0045] The robustness of the supported membrane enables its area to be several times larger. When the membrane area increases, the force that is exerted on the resonator proportionally increases, and the sensitivity thus increases.

    [0046] There are many types of resonator that can be used within a device.

    [0047] An example not forming part of the invention is shown in Figure 7, having a simple clamped-clamped beam resonator 70 that has two anchors 72a, 72b, one 72b attached to the membrane and the other one 72a attached to the substrate. When the membrane deflects due to pressure change, it induces strain to the resonator and thus makes its resonant frequency change. The mode shape is shown in dotted lines 74.

    [0048] Another example not forming part of the invention is a shuttle resonator as shown in Figure 8.

    [0049] The mass of the resonator is in the form of a frame 80. The frame has four parallel beams 82a-82d, in which two beams 82b, 82c are anchored at their middle to the substrate (fixed anchors 84a) and the other two beams 82a,82d are attached to the membrane (moveable anchors 84b). Thus, there are two beams at one lateral side of the frame and two at the other lateral side of the frame, wherein at each lateral side, one beam (82b for the left side and 82c for the right side) is anchored (84a) to the fixed base and the other (82a for the left side and 82d for the right side) is anchored (84b) to the top membrane (24).

    [0050] The resonator vibrates in the direction of the arrows 86, so that the mode shape is in-plane. When the membrane deflects due to pressure change, it induces strain to the resonator beams thus makes its resonant frequency change.

    [0051] In a real implementation of the sensor, the resonator is formed within an oscillation loop to maintain the resonant frequency. A schematic circuit diagram is shown in Figure 9.

    [0052] The oscillator loop contains the resonator 90 and a feedback amplifier 92. The gain and the phase of the amplifier are chosen such that the total gain of the loop is equal or larger than 1 and the total phase shift of the loop is zero or close to zero. The amplifier amplifies the output signal from the sensing electrode 94 of the sensor (i.e. the resonator), and feeds the amplified signal back to the actuation electrode 96 of the resonator. With an appropriate loop again and loop phase, the resonance can be maintained within the loop, and this resonance signal can be readout at any point on the loop, such as the output of the amplifier as shown as output 98. The output signal is then processed to obtain the resonant frequency, using e.g. a frequency counter. The frequency is then converted to pressure using a formula that contains calibration data.

    [0053] As for many other types of pressure sensor, the sensor signal (that is the resonant frequency) of the resonant pressure sensor to some extent is also temperature dependent. This is mainly due to the fact that Young's modulus of the material of the resonator is temperature dependent, which makes its stiffness, and thus its frequency temperature dependent.

    [0054] This effect can be corrected for using any of many known methods that have been used in the field of MEMS resonators, such as:
    1. (i) Coat the resonator with a layer of a different material that has an opposite temperature coefficient of Young's modulus (TCY). With an appropriate thickness of the coating layer, the total temperature coefficient of frequency (TCF) of the whole resonator can be reduced to virtually zero. For example, if the resonator is made of Si, which has TCY of -60 ppm/K (part per million change per Kelvin), the coating material can be Si dioxide which has TCY of +196 ppm/K.
    2. (ii) Use a temperature sensor to measure temperature of the resonator and correct for the temperature dependence in the readout circuit.
    3. (iii) Heat the resonator beam with a DC current in such a way that, with a feedback loop and a temperature sensor, temperature of the beam is kept constant.


    [0055] In addition, a new correction method can be applied.

    [0056] On the same substrate, in the vicinity of the pressure sensor, another cavity can be formed that contains a second resonator. The shape and dimensions of the second resonator are identical to those of the first resonator (which is the sensor), but with all anchors attached to the substrate. This functions as a reference sensor again having a MEMS resonator formed within a cavity between the substrate and a top membrane which deforms in response to the pressure to be sensed.

    [0057] Because all the anchors are fixed, the resonant frequency of the reference (second) resonator is not pressure sensitive, but has exactly the same temperature dependence as the first resonator. By comparing the frequencies of the two resonators, information on the pressure change only can be obtained.

    [0058] There are many processes can be used to fabricate the resonant sensor.

    [0059] One example is explained with reference to Figure 10.

    [0060] Figures 10(a) to 10(i) show the main sequential processing steps.

    [0061] The process starts with a blank Silicon On Insulator (SOI) wafer as shown in Figure 10(a). The SOI wafer is a silicon wafer that consists of three layers: a thick Si substrate 100 on the bottom, a buried silicon oxide layer (BOX) 102, and on the top, a single crystal silicon layer (SOI layer) 104. The BOX and the SOI layers normally have thickness of a few up to tens of micrometers.

    [0062] The top SOI layer 104 is patterned into the shape of the resonant sensor using a hard mask, lithography and an etching technique as shown in Figure 10(b).

    [0063] A sacrificial layer 106 with a thickness of a few micrometers is deposited on the patterned SOI layer as shown in Figure 10(c). Any suitable deposition technique can be used, such as sputtering, evaporation, CVD, PECVD, etc. The material of the sacrificial layer can be silicon dioxide, or another material, such as silicon nitride, a metal such as aluminium, etc.

    [0064] The sacrificial layer is patterned using lithography and an etching technique to create the shape of the cavity as shown in Figure 10(d). At the same time, one or more holes 108 inside the cavity area are also created. These correspond to the location of the moveable anchors to be formed. In this way, the anchor to the top membrane is formed by a selective etching of the sacrificial layer before the sacrificial etching. The un-etched portions of the sacrificial layer form the cavity portion over the resonator mass, and an etched portion or portions are used to form the movable anchor or anchors.

    [0065] A cap layer 110 is deposited as shown in Figure 10(e), using one of the deposition techniques described above. The material of the cap should preferably be a non-conducting material, and a different material than that of the sacrificial layer. For example, if the sacrificial layer is Si dioxide, the cap layer can be pure poly-silicon (therefore has very low electrical conduction), SiGe, Si nitride, or a polymer, etc. The non-conduction of the cap layer is to avoid electrical short between electrical connectors of the device. In addition, the cap material should be such that when the sacrificial layer is etched chemically (in a later step), the cap layer is not etched or etched with substantially lower etching rate.

    [0066] Small vent holes 112 are patterned in the cap layer, on the location of the cavity, using lithography and an etching technique. The size of the holes is preferably small, such as a few micrometers or smaller than a micrometer. The locations of the holes are inside the area of the cap, but preferably not directly on top of the movable MEMS beam(s). In the same step and lithography mask, contact holes can be created outside the cavity area (not shown).

    [0067] The sacrificial layer, and subsequently a part of the BOX layer are etched chemically (e.g. wet etch, plasma etch, vapour etch, etc) through the vent holes as shown in Figure 10(g). Because the etching rate of the cap is very much smaller than that of the sacrificial layer and the BOX layer, the cap remains intact throughout the etch. If the materials of the sacrificial layer and the BOX layer are different, the etching step is split into two different steps. If they are the same, such as both are Si dioxide, they can be etched in one step, using the same chemical.

    [0068] Near to the end of the etching step, when the BOX layer is etched, the etch should be stopped in time. The timing should be such that the whole moveable MEMS structure 114 can totally be released, while the fixed anchors, the main part of the electrodes and the fixed surroundings of the device are not etched, thus still attached firmly to the substrate. After this step, the MEMS resonant sensor is free standing, with at least one (movable) anchor 116 attached to the cap layer, and at least one (fixed) anchor 118 attached to the substrate. In this way, the fixed anchor is formed by a selective etching of the oxide layer 102.

    [0069] In a vacuum or low pressure environment, a plug layer 120 is deposited on top of the whole wafer as shown in Figure 10(h). Just prior to the deposition, because of the vacuum or low pressure outside, the cavity is evacuated or partly evacuated. The deposition of the plug layer seals the cavity, leaving a vacuum or low pressure inside the cavity. The material of the plug should be chosen such that it has good adhesion with the cap, and is able to seal off the vent holes hermetically. The material is preferably a metal, such as aluminium, because with the same step, electrical bond-pads outside the cavity can be formed.

    [0070] The plugs and the bond pads are patterned using lithography and an etching technique. The plugs 122 are thus separated to reduce the stiffness of the membrane as shown in Figure 10(i). If the plug material is not conducting, there will be another step to create the electrical bond-pads; otherwise, this step ends the process. The cavity is shown as 124 with portions above and below the resonator mass.

    [0071] The electrical connections for the actuation/sensing electrodes can be created in the Si layer 104 of the BOX substrate. The connections for the resonating beam can be made via the doped Si substrate and an Al electrode on top of the membrane that connects the Si resonating beam in the membrane.

    [0072] Using SiGe membrane/resonator technology the pressure sensor device can also be constructed on CMOS having the advantage of an integrated read-out circuit underneath the sensor, improving signal to noise ratio, reducing size and packaging costs.

    [0073] The structure of the invention has at least one anchor attached to the cap (the membrane) of the vacuum cavity, and at least one anchor attached to the fixed substrate so that the membrane is better supported. Thus, the membrane can be made much larger without collapsing and therefore the sensitivity can be improved.

    [0074] The wafer fabrication process described above is a wafer level/ thin film process, as opposed to some other wafer-bonding process. The advantage of a wafer-level process is that the die size can be smaller, thus lower cost. The process is also simpler using standard CMOS processes.

    [0075] The examples above make use of an in-plane bending mode. However, the invention can also be applied to a design with an out-of-plane bending mode.

    [0076] The pressure sensors of the invention can be used in the application fields described above, namely consumer electronics for instance in weather stations, in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems for buildings, altimeters in watches or hand-held equipment for skydivers and mountain climbers, in automotive applications such as for tyre pressure measurements, and various medical applications.

    [0077] Various modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art.


    Claims

    1. A pressure sensor comprising:

    a MEMS resonator (26) formed within a cavity (22), wherein the cavity comprises a fixed base (20) and a top membrane (24) which deforms in response to the pressure (P) to be sensed, wherein the MEMS resonator has a resonant frequency which is dependent on the incident pressure,

    wherein the MEMS resonator comprises a resonator beam (30),

    characterized in

    that the MEMS resonator comprises two anchors at each end of the resonator beam (30), a first anchor (28a) attached to the fixed base (20) and a second anchor (28b) attached to the top membrane (24),

    wherein the first anchor (28a) at one end is on an opposite lateral side of the resonator beam (30) to the first anchor (28a) at the other end, and the second anchor (28b) at one end is on an opposite lateral side of the resonator beam (30) to the second anchor (28b) at the other end.


     
    2. The pressure sensor as claimed in claim 1, wherein the resonator beam (30) is formed from a portion of the top silicon layer (104) of a buried oxide substrate arrangement (100,102,104).
     
    3. The pressure sensor as claimed in claim 2, wherein the fixed base (20) comprises the bottom silicon substrate (100) of the buried oxide substrate arrangement (100,102,104).
     
    4. The pressure sensor as claimed in any preceding claim, comprising an actuation electrode (96) for actuating the MEMS resonator and a sense electrode (94) for sensing the MEMS resonator oscillations, and a feedback control circuit for sustaining resonator oscillations.
     
    5. The pressure sensor as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising:
    a reference sensor, wherein the reference sensor comprises:

    a second MEMS resonator formed within a cavity, wherein the cavity comprises a fixed base and a top membrane which deforms in response to the pressure (P) to be sensed,

    wherein the second MEMS resonator comprises a resonator beam which is anchored only to the fixed base.


     
    6. A method of fabricating a pressure sensor, comprising:

    forming a MEMS resonator (26) within a cavity (22), wherein the cavity comprises a fixed base (20) and a top membrane (24) which deforms in response to the pressure (P) to be sensed, wherein the MEMS resonator has a resonant frequency which is dependent on the incident pressure; wherein the MEMS resonator comprises a resonator beam (30), and

    anchoring the resonator beam (30) both to the fixed base (20) and the top membrane (24),

    characterized in

    that the MEMS resonator comprises two anchors at each end of the resonator beam (30), a first anchor (28a) attached to the fixed base (20) and a second anchor (28b) attached to the top membrane (24),

    wherein the first anchor (28a) at one end is on an opposite lateral side of the resonator beam (30) to the first anchor (28a) at the other end, and the second anchor (28b) at one end is on an opposite lateral side of the resonator beam (30) to the second anchor (28b) at the other end.


     
    7. The method as claimed in claim 6, comprising forming the resonator beam (30) from a portion of the top silicon layer (104) of a buried oxide substrate arrangement (100,102,104).
     
    8. The method as claimed in claim 7, comprising forming the first anchor (28a) to the fixed base (20) by a selective etching of the oxide layer (102) of the buried oxide substrate arrangement (100,102,104).
     
    9. The method as claimed in claim 7, comprising forming the second anchor (28b) to the top membrane (24) by a selective etching of a sacrificial layer before the sacrificial etching, which un-etched portions of the sacrificial layer form the cavity portion (124) over the resonator beam (30).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Drucksensor, aufweisend:

    einen MEMS-Resonator (26), der innerhalb eines Hohlraums (22) ausgebildet ist, wobei der Hohlraum eine feste Basis (20) und eine obere Membran (24) aufweist, die sich als Reaktion auf einen zu erfassenden Druck (P) verformt, wobei der MEMS-Resonator eine Resonanzfrequenz aufweist, die vom einwirkenden Druck abhängig ist,

    wobei der MEMS-Resonator einen Resonatorbalken (30) aufweist,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der MEMS-Resonator zwei Anker an jedem Ende des Resonatorbalkens (30) aufweist, und zwar einen ersten Anker (28a), der an der festen Basis (20) befestigt ist, und einen zweiten Anker (28b), der an der oberen Membran (24) befestigt ist,

    wobei der erste Anker (28a) an einem Ende auf einer zum ersten Anker (28a) am anderen Ende entgegengesetzten lateralen Seite des Resonatorbalkens (30) sitzt und der zweite Anker (28b) an einem Ende auf einer zum zweiten Anker (28b) am anderen Ende entgegengesetzten lateralen Seite des Resonatorbalkens (30) sitzt.


     
    2. Drucksensor nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Resonatorbalken aus einem Abschnitt der oberen Siliziumschicht (104) einer vergrabenen Oxidsubstratanordnung (100, 102, 104) gebildet ist.
     
    3. Drucksensor nach Anspruch 2, wobei die feste Basis (20) das untere Siliziumsubstrat (100) der vergrabenen Oxidsubstratanordnung (100, 102, 104) aufweist.
     
    4. Drucksensor nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, aufweisend eine Betätigungselektrode (96) zum Betätigen des MEMS-Resonators und eine Erfassungselektrode (94) zum Erfassen der Schwingungen des MEMS-Resonators, und eine Rückkopplungsschaltung zum Aufrechterhalten der Resonatorschwingungen.
     
    5. Drucksensor nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, ferner aufweisend:
    einen Referenzsensor, wobei der Referenzsensor aufweist:

    einen zweiten MEMS-Resonator, der innerhalb eines Hohlraums gebildet ist, wobei der Hohlraum eine feste Basis und eine obere Membran aufweist, die sich als Reaktion auf den zu erfassenden Druck (P) verformt,

    wobei der zweite MEMS-Resonator einen Resonatorbalken aufweist, der nur an der festen Basis verankert ist.


     
    6. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Drucksensors, umfassend:

    Bilden eines MEMS-Resonators (26) innerhalb eines Hohlraums (22), wobei der Hohlraum eine feste Basis (20) und eine obere Membran (24) aufweist, die sich als Reaktion auf einen zu erfassenden Druck (P) verformt, wobei der MEMS-Resonator eine Resonanzfrequenz aufweist, die vom einwirkenden Druck abhängig ist; wobei der MEMS-Resonator einen Resonatorbalken (30) aufweist, und

    Verankern des Resonatorbalkens (30) sowohl an der festen Basis (20) als auch an der oberen Membran (24),

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der MEMS-Resonator zwei Anker an jedem Ende des Resonatorbalkens (30) aufweist, und zwar einen ersten Anker (28a), der an der festen Basis (20) befestigt ist, und einen zweiten Anker (28b), der an der oberen Membran (24) befestigt ist,

    wobei der erste Anker (28a) an einem Ende auf einer zum ersten Anker (28a) am anderen Ende entgegengesetzten lateralen Seite des Resonatorbalkens (30) sitzt und der zweite Anker (28b) an einem Ende auf einer zum zweiten Anker (28b) am anderen Ende entgegengesetzten lateralen Seite des Resonatorbalkens (30) sitzt.


     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, umfassend das Bilden des Resonatorbalkens (30) aus einem Abschnitt der oberen Siliziumschicht (104) einer vergrabenen Oxidsubstratanordnung (100, 102, 104) .
     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, umfassend das Bilden des ersten Ankers (28a) an der festen Basis (20) durch selektives Ätzen der Oxidschicht (102) der vergrabenen Oxidsubstratanordnung (100, 102, 104).
     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, umfassend das Bilden des zweiten Ankers (28b) an der oberen Membran (24) durch selektives Ätzen einer Opferschicht vor dem Opferätzen, wobei nicht geätzte Abschnitte der Opferschicht den Hohlraumabschnitt (124) über dem Resonatorbalken (30) bilden.
     


    Revendications

    1. Capteur de pression comprenant :

    un résonateur MEMS (26) formé à l'intérieur d'une cavité (22), sachant que la cavité comprend une base fixe (20) et une membrane supérieure (24) qui se déforme en réponse à la pression (P) à détecter, sachant que le résonateur MEMS a une fréquence de résonance qui dépend de la pression incidente,

    sachant que le résonateur MEMS comprend une poutre de résonateur (30),

    caractérisé en ce que

    le résonateur MEMS comprend deux ancrages à chaque extrémité de la poutre de résonateur (30), un premier ancrage (28a) étant attaché à la base fixe (20) et un deuxième ancrage (28b) étant attaché à la membrane supérieure (24),

    sachant que le premier ancrage (28a) à une extrémité se situe d'un côté latéral opposé de la poutre de résonateur (30) par rapport au premier ancrage (28a) à l'autre extrémité, et le deuxième ancrage (28b) à une extrémité se situe d'un côté latéral opposé de la poutre de résonateur (30) par rapport au deuxième ancrage (28b) à l'autre extrémité.


     
    2. Le capteur de pression tel que revendiqué dans la revendication 1, sachant que la poutre de résonateur (30) est formée à partir d'une portion de la couche de silicium supérieure (104) d'un agencement de substrat d'oxyde enfoui (100, 102, 104) .
     
    3. Le capteur de pression tel que revendiqué dans la revendication 2, sachant que la base fixe (20) comprend le substrat de silicium inférieur (100) de l'agencement de substrat d'oxyde enfoui (100, 102, 104).
     
    4. Le capteur de pression tel que revendiqué dans une quelconque revendication précédente, comprenant une électrode d'actionnement (96) destinée à actionner le résonateur MEMS et une électrode de détection (94) destinée à détecter les oscillations du résonateur MEMS, et un circuit de commande à rétroaction destiné à maintenir les oscillations de résonateur.
     
    5. Le capteur de pression tel que revendiqué dans une quelconque revendication précédente, comprenant en outre :
    un capteur de référence, sachant que le capteur de référence comprend :

    un deuxième résonateur MEMS formé à l'intérieur d'une cavité, sachant que la cavité comprend une base fixe et une membrane supérieure qui se déforme en réponse à la pression (P) à détecter,

    sachant que le deuxième résonateur MEMS comprend une poutre de résonateur qui est seulement ancrée à la base fixe.


     
    6. Procédé de fabrication d'un capteur de pression, comprenant :

    la formation d'un résonateur MEMS (26) à l'intérieur d'une cavité (22), sachant que la cavité comprend une base fixe (20) et une membrane supérieure (24) qui se déforme en réponse à la pression (P) à détecter, sachant que le résonateur MEMS a une fréquence de résonance qui dépend de la pression incidente ; sachant que le résonateur MEMS comprend une poutre de résonateur (30), et

    l'ancrage de la poutre de résonateur (30) à la fois à la base fixe (20) et à la membrane supérieure (24),

    caractérisé en ce que

    le résonateur MEMS comprend deux ancrages à chaque extrémité de la poutre de résonateur (30), un premier ancrage (28a) étant attaché à la base fixe (20) et un deuxième ancrage (28b) étant attaché à la membrane supérieure (24),

    sachant que le premier ancrage (28a) à une extrémité se situe d'un côté latéral opposé de la poutre de résonateur (30) par rapport au premier ancrage (28a) à l'autre extrémité, et le deuxième ancrage (28b) à une extrémité se situe d'un côté latéral opposé de la poutre de résonateur (30) par rapport au deuxième ancrage (28b) à l'autre extrémité.


     
    7. Le procédé tel que revendiqué dans la revendication 6, comprenant la formation de la poutre de résonateur (30) à partir d'une portion de la couche de silicium supérieure (104) d'un agencement de substrat d'oxyde enfoui (100, 102, 104) .
     
    8. Le procédé tel que revendiqué dans la revendication 7, comprenant la formation du premier ancrage (28a) à la base fixe (20) par attaque sélective de la couche d'oxyde (102) de l'agencement de substrat d'oxyde enfoui (100, 102, 104).
     
    9. Le procédé tel que revendiqué dans la revendication 7, comprenant la formation du deuxième ancrage (28b) sur la membrane supérieure (24) par attaque sélective d'une couche sacrificielle avant l'attaque sacrificielle, les portions non attaquées de la couche sacrificielle formant la portion de cavité (124) au-dessus de la poutre de résonateur (30).
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description




    Non-patent literature cited in the description