Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel temperature calibration improves NIST microhotplate technology

14.08.2009
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new calibration technique that will improve the reliability and stability of one of NIST's most versatile technologies, the microhotplate.

The novel NIST device is being developed as the foundation for miniature yet highly accurate gas sensors that can detect chemical and biological agents, industrial leaks and even signs of extraterrestrial life from aboard a planetary probe.

The tiny microhotplates—no wider than a human hair—are programmed to cycle through a range of temperatures. They can be coated with metal oxide films tailored to detect specific gas species. Airborne chemicals attach to the surface of the detector depending on the type of film and the temperature of the surface, changing the flow of electricity through the device, which serves as the "signature" for identifying both the type and concentration of the gas in the ambient air.

Accurate microhotplate temperature measurements are crucial for the discrimination and quantification of gas species, while reliable, long-term operation demands that the microhotplate's temperature sensors be either highly stable or able to sense when they've drifted, a functionality known as a "built-in self test" (BIST). As demonstrated for the first time in a paper in an upcoming issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters,* the new calibration method satisfies both requirements.

A portion of the polysilicon heater making up the microhotplate originally served as the device's temperature sensor. However, this sensor would slowly drift over time from its initial calibration. Within three months, the temperature readings were off by as much as 25 degrees Celsius at high temperatures.

The NIST engineers overcame this shortcoming by using data from two additional temperature sensors—a highly stable, thin-film platinum/rhodium thermocouple integrated in the microhotplate structure for one sensor and the thermal efficiency of the structure itself for the other. Comparing the temperatures reported by these two sensors provides the microhotplate with its internal monitoring system. As long as the absolute value of the difference between the reported temperatures remains below a specified threshold value, the average of the two readings is considered reliable. Should the difference exceed the threshold, the system reports an error.

The original polysilicon sensor still provides the microhotplate's initial temperature measurement, which is used to calibrate the other two sensors. With the complete "check and balance" system in place, temperature measurements are accurate to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Having successfully demonstrated the new temperature calibration system for their microhotplate, the NIST researchers are working on additional advancements for the technology. Next in line is the development of a built-in system for sensing contamination of the metal oxide films critical to the microhotplate's use in gas detection.

* M. Afridi, C. Montgomery, E. Cooper-Balis, S. Semancik, K.G. Kreider and J. Geist. Analog BIST functionality for microhotplate temperature sensors. IEEE Electron Devices, Volume 30, No. 9 (September 2009).

Michael E. Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>