Microscale hemispherical shell resonating gyroscopes

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Shao, Peng
Ayazi, Farrokh
Pierron, Olivier N.
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MEMS gyroscopes are electromechanical devices that measure rate or angle of rotation. They are one of the fastest growing segments of the microsensor market. Advances in microfabrication technologies have enabled the implementation of chip scale monolithic gyroscopes (MEMS gyroscopes) with very small form factor that are lightweight and consume little power. Over the past decade, significant amount of research have been directed towards the development of high performance and very small size MEMS gyroscopes for applications in consumer electronics such as smart phones. In this dissertation, high aspect-ratio hemispherical shell structure with continuously curved surface is utilized as the high Q resonator. Being an axial symmetric structure, the 3D hemispherical shell is able to achieve low frequency (3 ~ 5 kHz) within 2 mm X 2mm die area. Detailed analysis on energy dissipation also shows its potential to achieve ultra-high quality factor with the selection of high Q material and proper design of support structure. This dissertation presents, for the first time, the analysis, design, fabrication and characterization of a micro-hemispherical resonating gyroscope (μHRG) that has the potential to be used as a whole angle micro-gyroscope. A three-dimensional high aspect-ratio poly- and single crystalline silicon (3D HARPSS) process is developed to fabricate free-standing, stem-supported hemispherical shell with self-aligned deep electrodes for driving, sensing and quadrature control of the gyroscope. This monolithic process consists of seven lithography steps and combines 3D micro-structure with curved surfaces with the HARPSS process to create capacitive electrodes with arbitrary gaps around the micro-hemispherical shell resonator (μHSR). Polysilicon is utilized as the structural material due to its isotropic mechanical properties and the potential of achieving high quality factor. The fabrication is demonstrated successfully by prototypes of polysilicon μHRG with diameter of 1.2 mm and thickness of 700 nm. Frequency response and gyro operation are electronically measured using the integrated electrodes. Quality factor of 8,500 is measured with frequency mismatch of 105 Hz. Electronic mode matching and alignment are successfully performed by applying tuning voltages and quadrature nulling voltages. An open loop rate sensitivity scale factor of 4.42 mV/°/s was measured. Design and process optimization of the support structure improved the quality factor to 40,000. Further improvement of quality factor will enable the demonstration of high performance RIG using polysilicon μHRG.
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