LTCC-based pressure sensors are promising candidates for wet-wet applications in which the effect of the surrounding media on the sensor's characteristics is of key importance. The effect of humidity on the sensor's stability can be a problem, particularly in the case of capacitive sensors. A differential mode of operation can be a good solution, but manufacturing the appropriate sensing capacitors remains a major challenge. In the case of piezoresistive sensors the influence of humidity is less critical, but it still should be considered as an important parameter when designing sensors for low-pressure ranges. In this paper we discuss the stability of the sensors' offset characteristics, which was inspected closely using experimental and numerical analyses.
In this work the design aspects of a piezoelectric-based resonance ceramic pressure sensor made using low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology and designed for high-temperature applications is presented. The basic pressure-sensor structure consists of a circular, edge-clamped, deformable diaphragm that is bonded to a ring, which is part of the rigid ceramic structure. The resonance pressure sensor has an additional element – a piezoelectric actuator – for stimulating oscillation of the diaphragm in the resonance-frequency mode. The natural resonance frequency is dependent on the diaphragm construction (i.e., its materials and geometry) and on the actuator. This resonance frequency then changes due to the static deflection of the diaphragm caused by the applied pressure. The frequency shift is used as the output signal of the piezoelectric resonance pressure sensor and makes it possible to measure the static pressure. The characteristics of the pressure sensor also depend on the temperature, i.e., the temperature affects both the ceramic structure (its material and geometry) and the properties of the actuator. This work is focused on the ceramic structure, while the actuator will be investigated later.