Design and Fabrication of a MEMS Chemicapacitive Sensor for the Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Major Advisor

Jeff Jessing


Sensors playa crucial role in protecting the public and environment from chemical threats. By detecting threats quickly and accurately, proper steps can be taken to mediate situations and minimize damage. Because of their importance, researchers have focused on the improvement of existing sensors and on the design of novel sensors. Some of the many issues that researchers and designers must consider are listed in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1. Metrics for Evaluating Chemical Sensors

• Sensitivity

• Probability of Detection

• False Positive Rate

• Response Time

• Power Consumption

• Cost

• Reliability

• Maintenance

• Durability

• Size and weight

Depending on the application, certain items in Table 1.1 are emphasized more than others. Also, there are tradeoffs between many of these issues; for example, greater sensitivity may lead to increased false positive rates (false alarms). Because of this, some researchers have focused on designing electronic "noses". These "noses" are arrays of different types of sensors that are networked together and may employ pattern recognition to better detect chemicals.

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