Micro- and Nano-Technologies for Automotive Sensor Research 2007-01-1012
Current and future research directions for micro- and nano-technologies applicable to the automotive sensor market are presented. Micro- and nano- based sensors are inherently small with high bandwidth and incredible sensitivity potential and can therefore used to measure the desired data directly (eg. force from road on wheel at wheel bearing) rather than inferring data by indirect measurement and data table lookup. The key to leveraging the capabilities of micro- and nano-systems is to control the interface between the microsystem and vehicle component, and/or the nanoscale device and the microscale packaging. The former interface is primarily responsible for device performance and the latter for processing and integration cost. To demonstrate these points, a number of micro- and nano-sensors, currently in development, are described and reviewed. To examine the influence of the interface between micro- and macroscale systems, a high sensitivity and bandwidth resonant strain sensor mounted to steel components is examined. To exemplify the interface between microscale physical (e.g. temperature, acceleration, pressure, strain) and chemical sensors (e.g. oxygen and hydrogen) and their environment are examined. Lastly, nanowire and nanotube sensors fabricated using a new, room temperature fabrication method that leverages microscale devices and enables the nanowires and nanotubes to be fabricated directly on CMOS chips will be discussed. These sensors, and others, promise to revolutionize the automotive sensor market and will make possible a new generation of extremely safe, high performance automobile systems.