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MEMS sensors from epitaxially grown piezoresistors

Stanford Reference:



Stanford engineers have created a patented method for fabricating highly sensitive piezoresistors on vertical walls of microstructures by epitaxial growth of doped silicon. In-plane inertial sensors produced with this technique are up to 7 times more sensitive with a lower noise level than their ion-implanted counterparts. These benefits are achieved by growing mono-crystalline piezoresistors on a mono-crystalline substrate (epitaxial crystal growth), which creates an efficient, high-quality sensing structure. End user applications for this technology include accelerometers, gyroscopes and shear stress sensors.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of sidewall epitaxial piezoresistors on an unreleased cantilever using a selective deposition process.

Stage of Research
The inventors built and tested the piezoresistors and demonstrated sensitivity and resolution comparable to single-crystal ion implanted piezoresistors and better than most polysilicon or diffusion-based piezoresistors.


  • Force sensors - higher quality, smaller inertial and force sensors with end user applications such as:
    • Accelerometers
    • Gyroscopes
    • Shear stress sensors
    • Other in-plane force and stress sensors


  • Sensitive - better sensitivity and lower noise than implanted piezoresistor based sensors and other current options
  • Simple and scalable:
    • piezoresistors offer greater simplicity and miniaturization than optical and capacitive type sensors
    • potential to miniaturize sensors to sub-micron or nanoscale sizes
  • Better force resolution
  • Robust - low susceptibility to heat variation


Innovators & Portfolio

Patent Status

Date Released


Licensing Contact

Anne Kopf-Sill, Licensing Associate
(650)498-8015 (Business)
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Related Keywords

cantilever   force sensor   MEMS: sensors   gyroscope   accelerometers   sensors   Piezoresistor   piezoresistive   06-240   contact sensor   piezoelectric   micromachined sensors   pressure sensors   mechanical sensors   microfabrication   sensors: aircraft   strain sensor   inertial measurement   Inertial sensors   mobile inertia sensors   



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