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Published October 2005 | Published
Journal Article Open

Micromachined Thermal Shear-Stress Sensor for Underwater Applications


This paper reports the development of micromachined thermal shear-stress sensors for underwater applications. The thermal shear-stress sensor is a polysilicon resistor sitting atop a vacuum-insulated nitride diaphragm. Special challenges for underwater measurements, such as the waterproof coating and minimization of pressure crosstalk, have been addressed. More rigid diaphragms than the aerial sensors are implemented to increase the operating range and reduce pressure crosstalk, with the cost of larger power consumption and lower sensitivity. Sensors with different diaphragm dimensions and resistor lengths have been fabricated and tested. Nearly zero pressure sensitivity has been achieved by either reducing the diaphragm width or adjusting the sensing element length. The effects of overheat ratio and operating mode on the sensor's pressure crosstalk have been discussed. Parylene C is chosen as the waterproof material for the underwater shear-stress sensors. The primary failure mode is identified as the corrosion of the soldering pads.

Additional Information

"© 2005 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE." Manuscript received July 21, 2004; revised March 22, 2005. Subject Editor N. de Rooij. Posted online: 2005-10-10

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