MEMS accelerometers have found applications in harsh environments with pressure, temperatures above ambient conditions, high g shock and vibrations. The complex structure of these MEMS devices has made it difficult to understand the failure modes and failure mechanisms of present day MEMS accelerometers. Little work has been done by the researchers in investigating the high g reliability of the MEMS accelerometers by continuous high g drops and quantifying the failure modes. There is little literature addressing the multiphysics finite element modelling of MEMS accelerometers subjected to high g shocks. In defense applications, where these devices are integrated with several other compactly assembled subsystems, lack of knowledge on the physics of failure for the MEMS sensor in harsh environment operation, can be detrimental to the success of the system on the whole. Being able to successfully model inside of an accelerometer, enables the user to better understand the change in parameters like time delay induced in response of successive drops, change in pulse width that indicate failure, reduction in sensed g levels. Some researchers have subjected various accelerometers to repeated drops at their maximum sensing g(not high g) level, and used optical microscopy to detect damaged sensing elements [Beliveau, 1999]. Few researchers have modeled the internal structure of the MEMS device, along with the device packaging under the stresses of operation [Fang 2004, Ghisi 2008, Xiong 2008]. In this paper, a multiphysics model of capacitive and the moving elements of the accelerometer has been developed to model the change in capacitance with respect to stroke and understand the correlation with g-levels, in addition to the transient dynamic response of the accelerometer under high-g shock. This has not been much explored in the past. The accelerometer studied in the paper is the ADXL193, and subjected to repeated drops of 3000g in each 3 axes as per 2002.4 of MIL-STD-883 without preconditioning. A characteristic graph of capacitance vs accelerometer stroke has been obtained from a series of electrostatic simulations and is then used to relate g levels, capacitance, stroke deflection and voltage change using electromechanical transducer elements. The drift in the performance characteristics of the accelerometer have been measured versus the number of shock events. In addition, an attempt has been made to investigate the failure mode in the accelerometer.
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Mechanical Shock Reliability Analysis and Multiphysics Modeling of MEMS Accelerometers in Harsh Environments
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Lall, P, Kothari, N, & Glover, J. "Mechanical Shock Reliability Analysis and Multiphysics Modeling of MEMS Accelerometers in Harsh Environments." Proceedings of the ASME 2015 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems collocated with the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels. Volume 3: Advanced Fabrication and Manufacturing; Emerging Technology Frontiers; Energy, Health and Water- Applications of Nano-, Micro- and Mini-Scale Devices; MEMS and NEMS; Technology Update Talks; Thermal Management Using Micro Channels, Jets, Sprays. San Francisco, California, USA. July 6–9, 2015. V003T07A007. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IPACK2015-48457
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