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Design Issues for Low Power Integrated Thermal Flow Sensors with Ultra-Wide Dynamic Range and Low Insertion Loss

Author(s): Paolo Bruschi | Massimo Piotto

Journal: Micromachines
ISSN 2072-666X

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 295;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: thermal flow sensors | device optimization | MEMS | multi heater | sensitivity | resolution

Flow sensors are the key elements in most systems for monitoring and controlling fluid flows. With the introduction of MEMS thermal flow sensors, unprecedented performances, such as ultra wide measurement ranges, low power consumptions and extreme miniaturization, have been achieved, although several critical issues have still to be solved. In this work, a systematic approach to the design of integrated thermal flow sensors, with specification of resolution, dynamic range, power consumption and pressure insertion loss is proposed. All the critical components of the sensors, namely thermal microstructure, package and read-out interface are examined, showing their impact on the sensor performance and indicating effective optimization strategies. The proposed design procedures are supported by experiments performed using a recently developed test chip,including several different sensing structures and a flexible electronic interface.
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