Relative contributions of packaging elements to the thermal hysteresis of a MEMS pressure sensor

Piezoresistive silicon pressure sensor samples were thermally cycled after being consecutively packaged to three different levels. These started with the absolute minimum to allow measurement of the output and with each subsequent level incorporating additional packaging elements within the build. Fitting the data to a mathematical function was necessary both to correct for any testing uncertainties within the pressure and temperature controllers, and to enable the identification and quantification of any hysteresis. Without being subjected to any previous thermal preconditioning, the sensors were characterized over three different temperature ranges and for multiple cycles, in order to determine the relative contributions of each packaging level toward thermal hysteresis. After reaching a stabilised hysteretic behaviour, 88.5% of the thermal hysteresis was determined to be related to the bond pads and wire bonds, which is likely to be due to the large thermal mismatch between the silicon and bond pad metallisation. The fluid-fill and isolation membrane contributed just 7.2% of the total hysteresis and the remaining 4.3% was related to the adhesive used for attachment of the sensing element to the housing. This novel sequential packaging evaluation methodology is independent of sensor design and is useful in identifying those packaging elements contributing the most to hysteresis.