Fabrication and Characterization of Bending- Independent Capacitive CMOS Pressure Sensor Stacks

Roland Fischer 1 , Heinrich Ditler 2 , Michael Görtz 3  and Wilfried Mokwa 2
  • 1 RWTH Aachen University, Institute of Materials in Electrical Engineering 1, Sommerfeldstr. 24,, Aachen, Germany
  • 2 RWTH Aachen University, Institute of Materials in Electrical Engineering 1,, Aachen, Germany
  • 3 Fraunhofer IMS,, Duisburg, Germany


Artificial limbs, equipped with miniaturized tactile sensors, can handle objects with more dexterousness. Next to detecting forces, the sensor devices are also able to measure temperature. With this additional information, the touched objects can be better characterized. As such sensors, active CMOS-based capacitive pressure sensors are used in this work. The Sensors are thinned to 20-30 μm target thickness to make them bendable. One challenge of such thin sensors is the strong dependence of the output signal upon bending. To compensate this dependency, two sensors were mounted back to back. This allows a numerical adjustment of the two characteristic sensor output signals to mechanical stress curves. After electrically contacting of the stacks with a 15 μm thin polyimide foil substrate, the bending dependence of the stacks was characterized with a four-point bending procedure. By this characterization the dependency of the pressure sensor output signal on the height of mechanical stress was determined. Both sensor output signals show an inverted behavior under the same mechanical stress which confirmed prior simulation results with the same setup. Based on this information, a numerical method for compensating the bending dependence was successfully proven.

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Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering is an open access journal and closely related to the journal Biomedical Engineering - Biomedizinische Technik. CDBME is a forum for the exchange of knowledge in the fields of biomedical engineering, medical information technology and biotechnology/bioengineering for medicine and addresses engineers, natural scientists, and clinicians working in research, industry, or clinical practice.