Gyroscopes are one of the next killer applications for the MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) sensors industry. Many mature applications have already been developed and produced in limited volumes for the automotive, consumer, industrial, medical, and military markets. Plenty of high-volume applications, over 100 million per year, have been calling for low-cost gyroscopes. Bulk silicon is a promising candidate for low-cost gyroscopes due to its large scale availability and maturity of its manufacturing industry. Nevertheless, it is not suitable for a real monolithic IC integration and requires a dedicated packaging. New designs are supposed to eliminate the need for magnets and metal case package, and allow for a real monolithic MEMS-IC (Integrated Circuit) electronic system. In addition, a drastic cost reduction could be achieved by utilizing off-the-shelf plastic packaging with lead frames for the final assembly. The present paper puts forward the design of a novel tri-axial gyroscope based on rotating comb-drives acting as both capacitive sensors and actuators. The comb-drives are comprised of a single monolithic moving component (rotor) and fixed parts (stators). The former is made out of different concentrated masses connected by curved silicon beams in order to decouple the motion signals. The sensor was devised to be fabricated through the PolyMUMPs® process and it is intended for working in air in order to semplify the MEMS-IC monolithic integration.
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