Technology Overview

Instrumems Inc. technology is based on a platinum nano sensing wire filament suspended between two supporting electrodes. The new sensor is manufactured using standard semi-conductor, MEMS, fabrication techniques including some unique processes. By using various electronic methods, the sensor is capable of measuring velocity, temperature and humidity. The small thermal mass of the nanowires allows measurement at high frequencies from 10kHz to 100kHz, and therefore superior temporal resolution. The small size of the sensing element allows a very high spatial resolution.


The principle of operation for velocity measurement is based on conventional hot-wire anemometry, where by keeping the wire at temperature above the ambient temperature, one can relate the current drawn by the wire to the heat loss through forced convection (velocity). The sensing element is an order of magnitude smaller than currently available hot-wire probes. Measuring humidity is performed following similar techniques, where in this case the sensor is more sensitive to heat conduction. The temperature sensor is based on a cold-wire operation principle, where in this case, the sensing element is continuously adapting to the surrounding medium temperature.

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ManufacturingInstrumems pioneered a commercial fabrication process that leverages wet and dry etching and other semiconductor manufacturing techniques to batch produce nano-wires. These new techniques allow for higher volume, lower cost sensor production than was ever before possible. The batch fabrication technique also allows tight process control ensures repeatability. The fabrication includes a few processing steps where the Silicon wafer is shaped using photolithography, dry and wet etching and metal deposition. Then each sensor is released from the wafer and then packed.