Carbon MEMS Accelerometer

J. Strong, and C. Washburn
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, NM
Published in 2011

The newly emerging field of carbon-based MEMS (C-MEMS) attempts to utilize the diverse properties of carbon to push the performance of MEMS devices beyond what is currently achievable. Our design employs a carbon-carbon composite using nano-materials to build a new class of MEMS accelerometer that is hyper-sensitive over a dynamic range from micro-G to hundreds of G’s – far surpassing the capabilities of currently available commercial MEMS accelerometers.

Validating single cantilever beams with a 10:1 aspect ratio has shown only a 2% error from predicted to actual deflection calculations, while a clamped-clamped U-beam with 5% multi-walled carbon nanotubes describes a nearly 30% increase in Young’s modulus and begins demonstrating tunable material properties through nano-material loading in MEMS devices.