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Nitride-Based Materials for Flexible MEMS Tactile and Flow Sensors in Robotics
Claudio Abels 1 , Vincenzo Mariano Mastronardi 1 , Francesco Guido 1 , Tommaso Dattoma 1 , Antonio Qualtieri 1 , William M. Megill 2 , Massimo De Vittorio, 1 Francesco Rizzi 1 , Vittorio M. N. Passaro
1  Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies @UNILE, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Arnesano (LE) 73010, Italy;(C.A.);(V.M.M.);(F.G.);(T.D.);(A.Q.)
2  Faculty of Technology and Bionics, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Kleve 47533, Germany

Published: 10 May 2017 by MDPI in Sensors
MDPI, Volume 17; 10.3390/s17051080
Abstract: The response to different force load ranges and actuation at low energies is of considerable interest for applications of compliant and flexible devices undergoing large deformations. We present a review of technological platforms based on nitride materials (aluminum nitride and silicon nitride) for the microfabrication of a class of flexible micro-electro-mechanical systems. The approach exploits the material stress differences among the constituent layers of nitride-based (AlN/Mo, SixNy/Si and AlN/polyimide) mechanical elements in order to create microstructures, such as upwardly-bent cantilever beams and bowed circular membranes. Piezoresistive properties of nichrome strain gauges and direct piezoelectric properties of aluminum nitride can be exploited for mechanical strain/stress detection. Applications in flow and tactile sensing for robotics are described.
Keywords: MEMS, Stress-driven, aluminum nitride, silicon nitride, piezoelectric, Piezoresistive, tactile sensing, Flow Sensing
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