Main Focus of Research

Inertial Sensors

© Fraunhofer ENAS
High precision MEMS gyroscope
© Fraunhofer ENAS
Calibration of a gyroscope

Fraunhofer ENAS is working on system solutions for sensor components in the field of inertial sensors for various applications. Inertial sensors detect acceleration, inclination or angular velocity in free space without the need for an external reference. The developed inertial sensors are based on the principle of inertia and convert a mechanical movement usually into a change of capacitance. This change in capacitance must in turn be converted into, for example, an equivalent change in electrical voltage.

Rotation rate sensors play a special role, as they require a forced oscillation. These vibrating gyroscopes are based on the Coriolis effect, which is created by the forced oscillation (vibration) and an existing angular velocity. This results in a force, the so-called Coriolis force, and generates a detectable signal.

Fraunhofer ENAS is engaged in the design of micromechanical components, the continuous development of MEMS technologies, the system architecture for those sensors, the characterization of MEMS sensors at wafer and chip level as well as the characterization and calibration of complete sensor systems up to data processing and development of suitable algorithms for the processing of different sensor signals.

Our sensor systems are developed in close cooperation with our partners and are individually adapted to the respective needs of our customers and partners. The development and production of the integrated circuits is carried out by our partners. The MEMS themselves are manufactured in the clean rooms of Chemnitz up to small series and can be transferred to foundry lines with the appropriate boundary conditions, if required. In the past years, various demonstrators for the sensor systems have been developed.

Research Topics

  • Design and optimization of micromechanical structures
  • Design and simulation of MEMS
  • Development and transfer of technologies
  • Production of laboratory samples and prototypes
  • MEMS characterization at wafer level
  • Characterization and calibration of MEMS and systems

Equipment

  • Laser Doppler Vibrometer
  • LCR meter
  • Lock-in amplifier
  • Position rate table with temperature chamber
  • Shock exciter for shock tests
  • Source meter
  • Vacuum chamber (up to 5·10-3 mbar)
  • Vibration exciter with control system
  • Wafer prober (with Thermo-Chuck)

Software Tools

  • ANSYS
  • Atollic True Studio
  • Eagle
  • L-Edit
  • LabView und LabWindows CVI
  • LayoutEditor
  • LinkCAD
  • Matlab / Simulink
  • Python
  • SolidWorks
  • SPICE

  • Design of micromechanical systems (acceleration sensor, inclination sensor, angular rate sensor, MOEMS)
  • Layout and mask preparation
  • Create customer or product-specific design rules (with DRC) and process specifications in connection with selected technology or foundry
  • Multi-physical finite element simulation (e.g. modal analysis, transient simulation, capacitance analysis, damping simulation)
  • Optimize micromechanical structures e.g. regarding sensitivity, non-linearity, robustness and reliability
  • MEMS-Technology Co-design
  • MEMS-ASIC Co-design
  • Wafer-level characterization (capacitances, sensitivities, resistances, conductivity, eigenfrequencies, quality factor, damping)
  • Wafer-level characterization with electronic probe cards (e.g. typical system parameters of angular rate sensors)
  • Experimental modal analysis with 3D motion system analyzer
  • Analysis of electromechanical parameters with 3D motion system analyzer
  • Characterization and calibration of sensor chips and systems
  • Shock tests up to 10.000 g
  • Vibration tests (up to 30 kHz)
  • Tumble test (over temperature)
  • Angular rate tests up to ± 3000 °/s (resolution 0.001 °/s) combined with temperature
  • Temperature calibration (-50 ... +110 °C)
  • Preparation of samples and prototypes
  • Technology transfer


  • Intense2020: Modular technology platform for highly compact inertial sensors with integrated circuit electronics
  • KoliBriS: Modular  Technology platform for highly integrated inertial sensors 
  • diVIBES: Digital 3D broadband vibration sensors for improved machine monitoring through machine learning