Design and characterization of silicon micromechanical resonators
Ho, Gavin Kar-Fai
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The need for miniaturized frequency-selective components in electronic systems is clear. The questions are whether and how micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) can satisfy the need. This dissertation aims to address these questions from a scientific perspective. Silicon is the focus of this work, as it can benefit from scaling of the semiconductor industry. Silicon also offers many technical advantages. The characteristics of silicon resonators from 32 kHz to 1 GHz are described. The temperature stability and phase noise of a 6-MHz temperature-compensated oscillator and a 100-MHz temperature-controlled oscillator are reported. Silicon resonator design and characterization, with a focus on quality factor, linearity, and the electrical equivalent circuit, are included. Electrical tuning, electromechanical coupling, finite element modeling, and unexpected findings of these resonators are also described. A manufacturability technique employing batch process compensation is demonstrated. Results indicate that silicon is an excellent material for micromechanical resonators. The aim of this research is to explore the fundamental limitations, provide a foundation for future work, and also paint a clearer picture on how micromechanical resonators can complement alternative technologies.