This paper describes a system for the simultaneous dynamic control and thermal characterization of the heating of an Ultra Low Power (ULP) micromachined sensor. A Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) powering system has been realized using a microcontroller to characterize the thermal behavior of a device. Objectives of the research were to analyze the relation between the time period and duty cycle of the PWM signal and the operating temperature of such ULP micromachined systems, to observe the thermal time constants of the device during the heating phase and to measure the total thermal conductance. Constant target heater resistance experiments highlighted that an approximately constant heater temperature at regime can only be obtained if the time period of the heating signal is smaller than 50 𝜇s. Constant power experiments show quantitatively a thermal time constant 𝜏 that decreases during heating in a range from 2.3 ms to 2 ms as a function of an increasing temperature rise Δ𝑇 between the ambient and the operating temperature. Moreover, we calculated the total thermal conductance. Finally, repeatability of experimental results was assessed by guaranteeing the standard deviation of the controlled temperature which was within ±5.5∘C in worst case conditions.
1 Jan 2010
Journal of Sensors