In this paper, we report on a micro-electro mechanical system (MEMS)-based piezoresistive sensor for measuring shear stress induced by an airflow. The advantages of the proposed sensor include a simple sensing method and a high resonance frequency due to the small size of the sensing elements. Our sensor consists of a pair of 3 μm thick cantilevers with piezoresistors formed on the sidewall of their hinges to detect lateral deformation in the cantilevers induced by an airflow. Each cantilever has a 200 μm × 400 μm plate supported by two 150 μm long, 4 μm wide beams. The piezoresistors on the two cantilevers are designed to deform in opposite manners when a shear stress is applied and in the same manner when a pressure is applied. Therefore, the applied shear stress can be detected from the difference in the responses of the two cantilevers without becoming conflated with pressure. In this paper, the design, fabrication and evaluation of the proposed sensor are reported and compared to numerical simulation results. From the experimental results, the resolution of the sensor and its first resonance frequency are 1.3 Pa and 3.9 kHz, respectively. Moreover, we show that the effect of temperature on the readout of the sensor can be eliminated using a temperature-compensating piezoresistor fabricated on the same sensor chip. Finally, using the fabricated sensor, the measurement of the shear stress induced by an airflow with velocity between -10 and 10 m s-1 is demonstrated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas