Nitride-based materials for flexible MEMS sensors in robotics

Review paper (2017)

Article title

Nitride-based materials for flexible MEMS tactile and flow sensors in robotics

Article information

Journal: MDPI Sensors, Volume 17, Issue 5
Special Issue "State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016"


The response to different force load ranges and actuation at low energies is of considerable interest for applications of compliant and flexible devices undergoing large deformations. We present a review of technological platforms based on nitride materials (aluminum nitride and silicon nitride) for the microfabrication of a class of flexible micro-electro-mechanical systems. The approach exploits the material stress differences among the constituent layers of nitride-based mechanical elements in order to create microstructures, such as upwardly-bent cantilever beams and bowed circular membranes. Piezoresistive properties of nichrome strain gauges and direct piezoelectric properties of aluminum nitride can be exploited for mechanical strain/stress detection. Applications in flow and tactile sensing for robotics are described.