Force-Amplifying Compliant Mechanisms For Micromachined Resonant Accelerometers
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This thesis work provides an insight into the design of Force-amplifying Compliant Mechanisms (FaCMs) that are integrated with micromachined resonant accelerometers to increase their sensitivity. An FaCM, by mechanically amplifying the inertial force, enhances the shift in the resonance frequency of the beams used for sensing the acceleration whose effect causes an axial force on the beams. An extensive study on different configurations of resonators namely, single beam resonator, single-ended tuning fork (SETF), and double-ended tuning fork (DETF), is carried out to gain insights about their resonant behavior. The influence of the boundary conditions on the sensor’s sensitivity emerged from the study. We found that not only the force-amplification factor but also the multi-axial stiffness of the FaCM and proof-mass influence the resonance frequency of the resonator as well as the bandwidth of the modified sensor for certain configurations but not all. Thus, four lumped parameters were identified to quantify the effectiveness of an FaCM. These parameters determine the boundary condition of the sensing beams and also the forces and the moment transmitted to them. Also presented in this work is a computationally efficient model, called the Lumped Parameter Model (LPM) for evaluation of the sensitivity. An analytical expression for the frequency-shift of the sensing resonator beams is obtained by considering the FaCM stiffness parameters as well as the lumped stiffness of the suspension of the inertial mass. Various FaCMs are evaluated and compared to understand how the four lumped parameters influence the sensor’s sensitivity. The FaCMs are synthesized using topology optimization to maximize the net amplification factor with the volume constraint. One of the FaCMs outperforms the lever by a factor of six. Microfabrication of resonant accelerometer coupled with FaCM and comb-drive actuator is carried out using a silicon-on-insulator process. Finally, the selection map technique, a compliant mechanism redesign methodology is used for enhancing the amplification of FaCMs. This technique provides scope for further design improvement in FaCMs for given sensor specifications.
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