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22 December 2015 CMOS compatible fabrication process of MEMS resonator for timing reference and sensing application
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Frequency reference and timing control devices are ubiquitous in electronic applications. There is at least one resonator required for each of this device. Currently electromechanical resonators such as crystal resonator, ceramic resonator are the ultimate choices. This tendency will probably keep going for many more years. However, current market demands for small size, low power consumption, cheap and reliable products, has divulged many limitations of this type of resonators. They cannot be integrated into standard CMOS (Complement metaloxide- semiconductor) IC (Integrated Circuit) due to material and fabrication process incompatibility. Currently, these devices are off-chip and they require external circuitries to interface with the ICs. This configuration significantly increases the overall size and cost of the entire electronic system. In addition, extra external connection, especially at high frequency, will potentially create negative impacts on the performance of the entire system due to signal degradation and parasitic effects. Furthermore, due to off-chip packaging nature, these devices are quite expensive, particularly for high frequency and high quality factor devices. To address these issues, researchers have been intensively studying on an alternative for type of resonator by utilizing the new emerging MEMS (Micro-electro-mechanical systems) technology. Recent progress in this field has demonstrated a MEMS resonator with resonant frequency of 2.97 GHz and quality factor (measured in vacuum) of 42900. Despite this great achievement, this prototype is still far from being fully integrated into CMOS system due to incompatibility in fabrication process and its high series motional impedance. On the other hand, fully integrated MEMS resonator had been demonstrated but at lower frequency and quality factor.
We propose a design and fabrication process for a low cost, high frequency and a high quality MEMS resonator, which can be integrated into a standard CMOS IC. This device is expected to operate in hundreds of Mhz frequency range; quality factor surpasses 10000 and series motional impedance low enough that could be matching into conventional system without enormous effort. This MEMS resonator can be used in the design of many blocks in wireless and RF (Radio Frequency) systems such as low phase noise oscillator, band pass filter, power amplifier and in many sensing application.
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Duc H. Huynh, Phuong D. Nguyen, Thanh C. Nguyen, Stan Skafidas, and Robin Evans "CMOS compatible fabrication process of MEMS resonator for timing reference and sensing application", Proc. SPIE 9668, Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems, 96684W (22 December 2015);

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