Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based piezoresistive strain sensors have the potential to outperform traditional silicon-based piezoresistors in MEMS devices due to their high strain sensitivity. However, the resolution of CNT-based piezoresistive sensors is currently limited by excessive 1/f or flicker noise. In this paper, we will demonstrate several nanomanufacturing methods that can be used to decrease noise in the CNT-based sensor system without reducing the sensor's strain sensitivity. First, the CNTs were placed in a parallel resistor network to increase the total number of charge carriers in the sensor system. By carefully selecting the types of CNTs used in the sensor system and by correctly designing the system, it is possible to reduce the noise in the sensor system without reducing sensitivity. The CNTs were also coated with aluminum oxide to help protect the CNTs from environmental effects. Finally, the CNTs were annealed to improve contact resistance and to remove adsorbates from the CNT sidewall. The optimal annealing conditions were determined using a design-of-experiments (DOE). Overall, using these noise mitigation techniques it is possible to reduce the total noise in the sensor system by almost 3 orders of magnitude and increase the dynamic range of the sensors by 48 dB.
Nanomanufacturing Methods for the Reduction of Noise in Carbon Nanotube-Based Piezoresistive Sensor Systems
Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF Micro AND Nano-Manufacturing. Manuscript received January 8, 2012; final manuscript received August 22, 2012; published online March 22, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Liwei Lin.
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Cullinan, M. A., and Culpepper, M. L. (March 22, 2013). "Nanomanufacturing Methods for the Reduction of Noise in Carbon Nanotube-Based Piezoresistive Sensor Systems." ASME. J. Micro Nano-Manuf. March 2013; 1(1): 011011. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4023159
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