Single Chip Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Environmental Sensor Suite

Period of Performance: 02/10/2003 - 02/10/2005

$730K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sporian Microsystems, Inc.
515 Courtney Way Suite B
Lafayette, CO 80026
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The objective of this SBIR project is to design and develop a low cost, micro-electromechanical system (MEMS), multi-sensor "suite" consisting of 3-axis shock, temperature and humidity sensors operating in a single microchip. The desired performance characteristics are: temperature: -50 to 165 degrees F, humidity: 10-95% RH (+/- 6%), 3-axis shock: +/- 500 g's (+/-5%). Phase II work will build upon the successful Phase I efforts and concentrate on designing, building, and testing prototype sensors and evaluating system integration issues. The proposed approach makes use of MEMS, electrical, and optical sensing methods to sense the parameters of interest. The basic packaging concept for the sensor suite is novel in that it allows portions of the sensor that must be exposed to the environment to be external to the package while confining MEMS and circuitry inside of the sealed package. Concepts that result in good performance, high reliability, low power consumption, and low cost are in place with details to follow in Phase I Option and Phase II. The work will be performed through a partnership between Sporian Microsystems and LMTS-Eagan that takes advantage of the two companies combined considerable knowledge base in MEMS design, fabrication, packaging, testing, and subsystem design.To date, the Army has not had a low cost device that could track the complete environmental exposure history of munitions. The technology outlined in this proposal will provide the information regarding the environmental conditions associated with storage, transportation, and field deployment. This is a critical precursor to determining overall munitions "health" status. In addition to this application, a low cost, low power environmental sensing/monitoring device would be highly useful in a wider range of commercial applications. Commercial targets for the sensor technology include the shipping, parcel, and warehousing industries that have similar interests to the Army regarding the conditions of their goods while in storage or transit. Additionally there has been increased interest in using the technology in military and commercial aircraft and weapons systems in sensing applications.