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Nano Microphone - Extremely Small Scale Pressure Transducer

14.05.2009
Microphones and related devices are nowadays used in a

wide variety of industrial applications. They look back on a long history from carbon microphones invented in the late 1870th to modern electret microphones. Ongoing developments are aimed at MEMS devices, which integrate transducers together with frontend circuitry in silicon.

As observable in other fields of technology the history of microphones is in particular a history of proceeding miniaturization. From a few inches of carbon microphone diameter the sizes decreased to some ten or hundred microns within less more than a century. For a producer who wants to keep his competitiveness it is essential to possess a base technology which can anticipate the next major step of downsizing. The Department of Supramolecular Systems, Surfaces and Clusters of the University of Bielefeld recently provided such a fundamental innovation. The resulting transducer diaphragms are made from cross linked self assembled organic monolayers. They facilitate the production of robust microphones with some hundred nanometers in diameter. The diaphragm thickness can be reduced down to only one nanometer. Hereby all production steps are compatible to established semiconductor production techniques.

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