Journal article

Fast on-wafer electrical, mechanical, and electromechanical characterization of piezoresistive cantilever force sensors

Validation of a technological process requires an intensive characterization of the performance of the resulting devices, circuits, or systems. The technology for the fabrication of micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) is evolving rapidly, with new kind of device concepts for applications like sensing or harvesting are being proposed and demonstrated. However, the characterization tools and methods for these new devices are still not fully developed. Here, we present an on-wafer, highly precise, and rapid characterization method to measure the mechanical, electrical, and electromechanical properties of piezoresistive cantilevers. The setup is based on a combination of probe-card and atomic force microscopy technology, it allows accessing many devices across a wafer and it can be applied to a broad range of MEMS and NEMS. Using this setup we have characterized the performance of multiple submicron thick piezoresistive cantilever force sensors. For the best design we have obtained a force sensitivity H-F = 158 mu V/nN, a noise of 5.8 mu V (1 Hz-1 kHz) and a minimum detectable force of 37 pN with a relative standard deviation of sigma(r) approximate to 8%. This small value of a together with a high fabrication yield >95%, validates our fabrication technology. These devices are intended to be used as bio-molecular detectors for the measurement of intermolecular forces between ligand and receptor molecule pairs. 2012 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3673603]


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