Georgia Patent of the Month – April 2023

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology are microscopic devices that use both electronic and moving parts. In fact, they are often made of a plethora of parts ranging from 1 to 100 micrometers in size. These tiny systems are used all over the place, from operating as accelerometers in airbag sensors to biosensors.

The development of MEMS technology has made significant strides in recent years, particularly in consumer applications for pointing, orientation, and motion tracking. However, MEMS-based inertial measurement units (IMUs) experience performance degradation when exposed to high shock and vibration environments, particularly for missile defense systems. Traditional approaches for mitigating shock and vibration in IMU systems involve applying isolators to the IMU housing, but these isolators are large, heavy, and expensive.

EngeniusMicro LLC, a low-power wireless micro sensor developer, has developed a microisolation system that isolates inertial sensors at the chip-, component-, or sensor level while providing environmental protection, passing desired inertial forces, attenuating unwanted inertial forces, and minimizing size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) impact. 

EngeniusMicro’s newly patented microisolation system comprises an isolator platform, folded springs, and a mesh that provides a damping mechanism. The isolator platform holds and supports a MEMS-based sensor, while the folded springs attenuate vibrations and frequencies, with the thickness of the folded springs selected to achieve a desired spring constant that causes attenuation of specific vibration and frequency ranges while passing vibrations and frequencies outside of the ranges. The mesh provides a damping mechanism by dispersing shocks away from the isolator platform and other elements of the microisolation system.

The system is applicable not only to MEMS-based inertial sensors but also to other MEMS-based devices, packages, printed circuit boards, and substrates that require isolation from vibrations, frequencies, and shocks. 

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