Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rasim Guldiken


Frequency Shift, Inter Digital Transducer, Love Wave Sensor, Network Analyzer, Surface Transverse wave, Waveguide


Surface acoustic wave sensors have been a focus of active research for many years. Its ability to respond for surface perturbation is a basic principle for its sensing capability. Sensitivity to surface perturbation changes with every inter-digital transducer (IDT) design parameters, substrate selection, metallization choice and technique, delay line length and working environment.

In this thesis, surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors are designed and characterized to improve sensitivity and reduce loss. To quantify the improvements with a specific design configuration, the sensors are employed to measure temperature. Four SAW sensors design configurations, namely bi-directional, split electrode, single phase unidirectional transducer (SPUDT) and metal grating on delay line (shear transvers wave sensors) are designed and then fabricated in Nanotechnology Research and Education Center (NREC) facility using traditional MEMS fabrication processes Additionally, sensors are then coated with guiding layer SU8-2035 of 40 m using spin coating and SiO2 of 6 m using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) process. Sensors are later diced and tested for every 5oC increment using network analyzer for temperature ranging from 30oC–0.5oC to 80oC–0.5oC. Data acquired from network analyzer is analyzed using plot of logarithmic magnitude, phase and frequency shift.

Furthermore, to investigate the effect of metallization technique on the sensor performance, sensors are also fabricated on substrates that were metallized at a commercial MEMS foundry. All in-house and outside sputtered sensor configurations are compared to investigate quality of sputtered metal on wafer. One with better quality sputtered metal is chosen for further study. Later sensors coated with SU8 and SiO2 as guiding layer are compared to investigate effect of each waveguide on sensors and determine which waveguide offers better performance.

The results showed that company sputtered sensors have higher sensitivity compared to in-house sputtered wafers. Furthermore after comparing SU8 and SiO2 coated sensors in the same instrumental and environmental condition, it was observed that SU8 coated di-directional and single phase unidirectional transducer (SPUDT) sensors showed best response.

Included in

Engineering Commons