Design of an On-Chip Highly Sensitive Misalignment Sensor in Silicon Technology

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Journal Article
IEEE Sensors Journal, 2017, 17 (5), pp. 1211 - 1212
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© 2016 IEEE. Advanced micromachining technology has made magnificent progress for fabrication of non-planar circuits. Using this technology, circuits and systems can be implemented in a more cost-effective way. Unlike the conventional planar circuit, low-cost and highly sensitive misalignment sensor is required to detect imperfect placement of different micro-devices, which may be of the order of sub-micrometers. Currently, this is hardly to be achieved by using the existing approaches. In this letter, we present a novel sensor design approach utilizing the parasitic capacitance of an integrated coupled-line resonator for misalignment sensing. Due to vertical misalignment between two metal strips, the parasitic capacitance of the sensor varies, which results in a resonance shift from 53 to 68 GHz, while a reasonably strong transmission notch is still maintained. Taking advantage of this principle, misalignment can be effectively detected. To prove the concept, several devices are fabricated in a standard silicon technology. Three samples with the same structure are used to evaluate the reliability, while eight different structures are used to verify the concept. All results are extensively validated through both simulation and measurements.
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