Power management interface circuit for MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) bio-sensing and chemical sensing applications
Power supply management is important for MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) bio-sensing and chemical sensing applications. The dissertation focuses on discussion of accessibility to different power sources and supply tuning in sensing applications. First, the dissertation presents a high efficiency DC-DC converter for a miniaturized Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC). The miniaturized MFC produces up to approximately 10µW with an output voltage of 0.4-0.7V. Such a low voltage, which is also load dependent, prevents the MFC to directly drive low power electronics. A PFM (Pulse Frequency Modulation) type DC-DC converter in DCM (Discontinuous Conduction Mode) is developed to address the challenges and provides a load independent output voltage with high conversion efficiency. The DC-DC converter, implemented in UMC 0.18µm technology, has been thoroughly characterized, coupled with the MFC. At 0.9V output, the converter has a peak efficiency of 85% with 9µW load, highest efficiency over prior publication. Energy could be harvested wirelessly and often has profound impacts on system performance. The dissertation reports a side-by-side comparison of two wireless and passive sensing systems: inductive and electromagnetic (EM) couplings for an application of in-situ and real-time monitoring of wafer cleanliness in semiconductor facilities. The wireless system, containing the MEMS sensor works with battery-free operations. Two wireless systems based on inductive and EM couplings have been implemented. The working distance of the inductive coupling system is limited by signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) while that of the EM coupling is limited by the coupled power. The implemented on-wafer transponders achieve a working distance of 6 cm and 25 cm with a concentration resolution of less than 2% (4 ppb for a 200 ppb solution) for inductive and EM couplings, respectively. Finally, the supply tuning is presented in bio-sensing application to mitigate temperature sensitivity. The FBAR (film bulk acoustic resonator) based oscillator is an attractive method in label-free sensing application. Molecular interactions on FBAR surface induce mass change, which results in resonant frequency shift of FBAR. While FBAR has a high-Q to be sensitive to the molecular interactions, FBAR has finite temperature sensitivity. A temperature compensation technique is presented that improves the temperature coefficient of a 1.625 GHz FBAR-based oscillator from -118 ppm/K to less than 1 ppm/K by tuning the supply voltage of the oscillator. The tuning technique adds no additional component and has a large frequency tunability of -4305 ppm/V.