Fabrication of a Miniature Ion Mobility Spectrometer in Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramics

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Masters of Science in Engineering, Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Biomechanical Engineering

Major Advisor

Amy J. Moll


Multi-layer ceramic packaging technology holds considerable promise as a platform to fabricate MicroElectroMechanical System (MEMS) devices. Using Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC) materials, meso-scale devices can be fabricated that can operate in harsh thermal and chemical environments that would be challenging for Si based MEMS. This research describes the development of a design methodology and the processing for fabrication of MEMS devices in LTCC. To demonstrate the capabilities of Ceramic MEMS, an Ion Mobility Spectrometer (IMS) sensor was designed and fabricated using Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC) materials. The IMS measures the time of flight of an ion through an electric field at atmospheric pressure and correlates this time to a distinct chemical species. Current instruments are large, expensive, and have sizable power requirements. The LTCC IMS was designed for permanent deployment below ground to continuously conduct groundwater analysis. The reduction in size of the instrument was made possible by the novel use of LTCC packaging technology.

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