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CMOS-MEMS for RF and Physical Sensing Applications

posted on 22.09.2022, 23:16 authored by Udit RawatUdit Rawat

With the emergence of 5G/mm-Wave communication, there is a growing need for novel front-end electromechanical devices in filtering and carrier generation applications. CMOS-MEMS resonators fabricated using state-of-the-art Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturing processes provide a significant advantage for power, area and cost savings. In this work, a comprehensive physics-based compact model capable of capturing the non-linear behaviour and other non-idealities has been developed for MEMS resonators seamlessly integrated in CMOS. As the first large signal model for CMOS-embedded resonators, it enables holistic design of MEMS components with advanced CMOS circuits as well as system-level performance evaluation within the framework of modern IC design tools. Global Foundries 14nm FinFET (GF14LPP) Resonant Body Transistors (fRBT) operating at 11.8 GHz are demonstrated and benchmarked against this large-signal electromechanical model. 

Additionally, there is a growing interest in CMOS-integrable ferroelectric materials such as Hafnium Dioxide (HfO2) and Aluminum Scandium Nitride (AlScN) for next-generation memory and computation, as well as electromechanical transduction in CMOS-MEMS devices. This work also explores the performance of 700 MHz Ferroelectric Capacitor-based resonators in the Texas Instruments HPE035 process under high-power operating conditions. Identification of previously unreported characteristics, together with the first nonlinear large signal model for integrated ferroelectric resonators, provides insights on the design of frequency references and acoustic filters using ferroelectric transducers. 

Extending the range of unreleased CMOS-MEMS resonators to lower frequency using novel design, we also investigate embedded transducers in chip-scale devices for physical sensing. We have simulated and modeled the transducer coupling for low-frequency propagating modes and benchmarked their projected performance against state-of-the-art conventional MEMS sensors. A new approach to phononic crystal (PnC) Interdigitated Transducers (IDTs) is presented emulating the acoustic dispersion in conventional ICs. Unloaded quality factors up to 15,000 have been measured in $\sim$80 MHz resonators, demonstrating their capacity for resonant rotation sensing. We present a unique methodology to amplify and collimate acoustic waves using CMOS-design-rule-compliant Graded Index (GRIN) Phononic IDTs. Ultimately, the CMOS-MEMS techniques presented in this work for both RF applications and physical sensing can facilitate additional functionality in standard CMOS and emerging 3D heterogeneously integrated (3DHI) ICs with minor or no modifications to manufacturing and packaging. This enables new paradigms in next-generation communications, internet of things (IoT), and hardware security.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dana Weinstein

Additional Committee Member 2

Sunil Bhave

Additional Committee Member 3

Dimitrios Peroulis

Additional Committee Member 4

Shreyas Sen