We have designed and fabricated micromechanical magnetometers intended for a 3D electronic compass which could be embedded in portable devices. The sensors are based on the Lorentz force acting on a current-carrying coil, processed on a single crystal silicon resonator, and they are operated in vacuum to reach high enough Q values. Sensors for all cartesian components of the magnetic field vector can be processed on the same chip. The vibration amplitude is detected capacitively and the resonance is tracked by a phase-locked-loop circuit. The fabrication process is based on aligned direct bonding of a double side polished silicon wafer and a SOI wafer. Magnetometers measuring the field component along the chip surface have a flux density resolution of about 10 nT/√Hz at a coil current of 100 μA. Magnetometers measuring the field component perpendicular to the chip surface are currently less sensitive with a flux density resolution of about 70 nT/√Hz. The standard deviation of the signal was less than 1% over a period of a few days.
- Resonant sensors