MEMS Accelerometer Design
MEMS accelerometers are widely utilized in cars for airbag deployment and in consumer electronics applications such as smart phones. In addition, there is a growing demand for high-end MEMS accelerometers in industrial, aerospace and defense applications such as oil exploration, structural health monitoring for bridges, and inertial measurement units for navigation.
The Challenges of MEMS Accelerometer Design
From conceptual design, to optimization and performance enhancement, CoventorMP® can simulate a wide range of critical specifications related to successful MEMS accelerometer design. These include:
- Proof of concept studies, to explore different device configurations
- Non linear physics, including damping and rectification error
- Shock resistance
- Temperature performance
By way of example, an accelerometer model constructed using the multi-physics elements in the MEMS+ module of CoventorMP® is shown below. The sensing element is comprised of a perforated shuttle mass suspended at both ends by two springs. Four comb finger capacitors are attached to the shuttle mass, two for sensing and two for force-feedback control. The model is fully parametric, so that design parameters can be varied to optimize sensitivity, linearity and bandwidth.
The MEMS+ module has its own solvers for multi-physics simulations including static, modal, linear and non-linear harmonic analysis and noise analysis. The model can also be directly simulated in Mathworks MATLAB® to rapidly explore the design space through the use of scripted DOE simulations and optimization algorithms. In this example, the comb element is configured to include both electrostatics and squeeze film damping . This enables the bandwidth variation with pressure to be simulated and plotted, shown here using the MATLAB interface to MEMS+.
Co-Simulation with Circuit and System Simulators
Using Coventor’s unique methodology, the accelerometer can be co-simulated together with the control system and/or motion sensing electronics. The control system can be modeled using the Mathworks Simulink® environment, leveraging standard Simulink toolboxes to optimize system performance. Equally, the sensing electronics can be modeled by loading the MEMS+ model directly into Cadence Virtuoso® , or automatically exporting the model from MEMS+ to a VerilogA model that can be used in a compatible simulator.
Coventor’s unique design platform couples best-in-class MEMS finite element and solver support. It can be used by MEMS accelerometer designers to rapidly and accurately explore today’s critical design challenges. The platform offers the ability to simulate the complex multi-domain, multi-physics behavior of the sensing elements and their associated electronics, and to accurately predict sensitivity, bandwidth, noise, control-loop stability and more.