Integrated interface electronics for capacitive MEMS inertial sensors

Lasse Aaltonen

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    This thesis is composed of 13 publications and an overview of the research topic, which also summarizes the work. The research presented in this thesis concentrates on integrated circuits for the realization of interface electronics for capacitive MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) inertial sensors, i.e. accelerometers and gyroscopes. The research focuses on circuit techniques for capacitive detection and actuation and on high-voltage and clock generation within the sensor interface. Characteristics of capacitive accelerometers and gyroscopes and the electronic circuits for accessing the capacitive information in open- and closed-loop configurations are introduced in the thesis. One part of the experimental work, an accelerometer, is realized as a continuous-time closed-loop sensor, and is capable of achieving sub-micro-g resolution. The interface electronics is implemented in a 0.7-µm high-voltage technology. It consists of a force feedback loop, clock generation circuits, and a digitizer. Another part of the experimental work, an analog 2-axis gyroscope, is optimized not only for noise, but predominantly for low power consumption and a small chip area. The implementation includes a pseudo-continuous-time sense readout, analog continuous-time drive loop, phase-locked loop (PLL) for clock generation, and high-voltage circuits for electrostatic excitation and high-voltage detection. The interface is implemented in a 0.35-µm high-voltage technology within an active area of 2.5 mm². The gyroscope achieves a spot noise of 0.015 °/s/√H̅z̅ for the x-axis and 0.041 °/s/√H̅z̅ for the y-axis. Coherent demodulation and discrete-time signal processing are often an important part of the sensors and also typical examples that require clock signals. Thus, clock generation within the sensor interfaces is also reviewed. The related experimental work includes two integrated charge pump PLLs, which are optimized for compact realization but also considered with regard to their noise performance. Finally, this thesis discusses fully integrated high-voltage generation, which allows a higher electrostatic force and signal current in capacitive sensors. Open- and closed-loop Dickson charge pumps and high-voltage amplifiers have been realized fully on-chip, with the focus being on optimizing the chip area and on generating precise spurious free high-voltage signals up to 27 V.
    Translated title of the contributionIntegrated interface electronics for capacitive MEMS inertial sensors
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Halonen, Kari, Supervising Professor
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-3365-5
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-3366-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • capacitive sensor
    • complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor
    • micro-electro-mechanical system
    • accelerometer
    • tech
    • gyroscope
    • charge pump
    • phase-locked loop


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