EDN’s 20th annual Innovation Awards Finalists
EDN Staff - February 18, 2010
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Finalist: Digital MEMS accelerometer, Hewlett-Packard
HP technology enables a new class of ultrasensitive, low-power digital MEMS accelerometers. Up to 1000 times more sensitive than high-volume, commercial products, the sensors can achieve noise density performance in the sub-100 nano-g per square root Hz range to enable dramatic improvements in data quality.
To achieve this sensitivity, HP created a novel, new architecture, which fundamentally changes the proof mass and electrode arrangement typically used in MEMS accelerometers. While other MEMS technologies limit the proof mass size and electrode travel, HP's large proof mass and parallel surface electrodes are arranged to sense movement over a very large dynamic range with very low noise floor. Specifically, the bulk micromachining processes allow a 1-mg proof mass, resulting in the low noise floor, and the parallel surface electrodes allow dynamic ranges of over 120 dB.
By deploying many of these detectors as part of a complete sensor network, HP will enable real-time data collection, management evaluation, and analysis monitoring. This information empowers people to make better, faster decisions and take subsequent action to improve safety, security, and sustainability for a range of applications, such as bridge and infrastructure health monitoring, geophysical mapping, mine exploration, and earthquake monitoring.
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