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CHAPTER 2
Intro to MEMS - Interface Circuitry
Open Loop vs Closed Loop Gain
v (s )

v( S ) +

G (s )
open Loop

Y (s )

G(s )

Y (s ) = G (s )V (s )
no feedback

Y (s )

e(s ) = V (s ) Y (s )H (s )
Y (s ) = G (s )e(s )

H (s )

Solve:

Y (s )
G (s )
=
V (s ) 1 + G (s )H (s )

Closed-Loop

Feed-back

Sensor Signals + Interfacing


Processor takes the signal from the sensor, conditions it, and converts it to an
understandable format. It may perform Analog to Digital conversion. Most sensors are
analog. Most processing is done in digital form.
Commonly measured electrical parameters:
1. Resistance
2. Capacitance
3. Inductance

Measurement of Resistance
The processor measures the change in the resistance of the sensing element.
R x = Ro (1 + x )
(or R x = xRo )

linear resistance sensor

Ro = Baseline resistance
x = fractional change
Examples: Bolometers, magnetoresistors

Usually x < 1 . In the case of x >> 1 , a potential divider may be used.


Buffer
R
V

ref

ref
R

V
out

Voltage Divider
R
x
V
=V
out
ref R + R
x
ref

V
System gain: A = out =
Rx

Vref
R x + Rref

Sensitivity S = dVout dR x =

V ref

Ro (1 + x ) + Rref

Vref Rref

(R

+ Rref )

Since S is not constant, not linear.

Linear only for


R x << Rref

If x is small <1%
S=

If x is large >>1

Vref Rref

[R (1 + x ) + R ]

almost linear

ref

Vref Rref

[xR

+ Rref

Make linear by making


Rref >> xRo

Voltage dividers are not very sensitive to small changes in x. A better choice is a
Wheatstone Bridge.
R

R2

V
out

ref
Rx

R1

Rx
R1
Vout = Vref

R3 + Rx R1 + R2

R x R3
R1 R2
The bridge is nulled by adjusting R such that Vout = 0 . Then
=
1
1 + Rx R3 1 + R1 R2

R x R3 = R1 R2

However, for small x, it is common to use the circuit in unbalanced mode, measure Vout
and amplify it.

Capacitance Measurement
Capacitance is the amount of charge induced for a given voltage change.
C=

dq
q
if Linear C =
dV
V

planar, parallel-plate capacitor


C = o r

A
d

: relative permittivity
A: area
d: separation of plates

o : permittivity of space

If a phenomenon changes A, r or d, the C can be measured to detect the phenomenon.

C =

dC
d

A, d

dC
dA

A +
,d

dC
dd

,A

Examples: IR radiation can change o


Force can change d.

Capacitive Voltage Divider:

C ref

Vout = Vref

C x + C ref

C ref

Note error in book!

Vref
Cx

Vout

More accurate way is: Bridge.

Series Arrangement:

C1

C
Vout
R4

From the real part: R x =

R4 R1
R2

R4

R1

R +

1
jC1

R2
R1 +

solve
R2

1
jC1

From the imaginary part: C x =

R2
C1
R4

Parallel Arrangement:
R1
Cx
Rx

C1

Solve

Vout

R4

From the real part = R x =

R2

R4 R1
R2

From the imaginary part: C x =

R2
C1
R4

(equation 2.17 is wrong in the book!)

Inductance Measurement:
Self Inductance L:
Where

L=N

d
di

N: Number of wire turns


: Magnetic flux
i: Current flowing through the wire

Magnetomotive force (mmf ) = Ni


Reluctance = RL = mmf

R4
R2
=
R x (1 jC x ) R1 (1 jC1 )
1
1
Rx +
R1 +
jC x
jC1

Therefore

d dt =

And

L=N

d Ni N
=
di RL RL

d N 2
=
di
RL

Analogy Between Electric and Magnetic Circuits


Electric
I current
V emf

Magnetic
magnetic flux
F mmf

For a solenoid
A=Area of core

RL =

l
l
+ o
o r A o Ao

o=permeability of free space (error in book: not permittivity).


r=relative permeability of the core
Most sensors operate by changing airgap lo or moving magnetic core and changing
This modifies the RL and therefore L, which is sensed by induced voltage.
Vout = L

di
dt

There is also mutual inductance between 2 or more coils: M

Example
Linear Variable Differential Transformer
(LVDT)
ip
M1
L2
Vout
Vin

L1

M2

L2

motion

Vout = (M 1 M 2 )

di p
dt

Measures displacement

Interface Electronic Circuitry


Processor or Pre-processor circuitry that biases the sensor and conditions the sensor
output.
Functions of interface electronics:
1. To amplify:
Operational amplifiers
2. To reduce noise:
Low-, High-, or band pass filters. Sample and hold circuits, Integrators.
3. To supply power:
Biasing circuits for modulating sensors. Can be dc or pulse bias.
4. To compensate:
Examples are Linearization circuits, comparators, calibrators.

IR detector
radiatior

comparator
IR detector in dark

Another example is a shutter in a radiation detector to blank out the signal.


5. To control
Self-testing, checking battery levels etc.
6. To transmit
Most of the time, signal is digitized, multiplexed for transmission.
Examples are:
Frequency modulation: Signal can be converted to frequency modulator.
Digitization: ADC (analog-to-digital converters) convert the analog signal to digital,
which is easier to transmit, manipulate and noise free.
Multiplexing: Very useful in the case of detector arrays. (For example, 120x320 arrays
of pixels in focal plane array of IR detectors).

1
2
3
4

Sensor Output

Proecessor

MUX

Address (6-bit)
128

Digital Transmission:
Serial Interfacing
RS-232 standard
(Others are RS-422 and RS-423)
Dual wire transmission (simple)
Line length < 35 feet
Speed < 20 kbits/s in binary channel
Controls 1 device at a time

GPIB (IEEE 488) Interfacing


General Purpose Instrument Bas, same as IEEE-488, called as HPIB by Hewlett-Packard
Co.
Requires a specialized cable with 25 lines.
Line length < 7 feet
Speed < 2 Mbits/s
Controls up to 20 devices at a time.
(Figure 2.13)

Specialized Sensor Interfacing