A MEMS capacitive-type sensor is basically an electrostatic transducer that depends on electrical energy in terms of constant voltage (voltage drive) or constant charge storage (current drive) to facilitate monitoring of capacitance change due to an external mechanical excitation, such as force, acoustical pressure or acceleration. Microfabricated cantilever beams are widely used in MEMS capacitive-type sensors as the sensing element1.
One such representative of movable microdevices are the surface micromachined mechanical resonators that come in many geometrical configurations, such as laterally movable comb resonators, laterally and vertically movable beam resonators, and torsional resonators. The successful design and fabrication of these devices requires computer-aided design _CAD_ simulation tools capable of accurately simulating the electromechanical performance of MEMS devices. Accurate simulations are critical for the expeditious development of commercial products at reasonable cost. All CAD simulation tools require accurate measurements to verify models and to provide the values of the constants used in the models. In particular, in the case of micromechanical resonators, it is challenging to determine the mechanical properties of both static and dynamic behaviors of such micromechanical resonators2,3. The testing of these movable structures is usually performed using electrostatic excitation and detection by capacitive, piezoresistive, and optical methods4.
This paper presents the design, fabrication and testing of capacitive aluminum resonator with various movable membrane geometries, fabricated with surface micromachining.