MEMS, Surface Acoustic Wave, Bulk Acoustic Wave, Humidity

Sensors are an integral part of the “Internet of Things” and connectivity of electronic systems used in a wide array of industries such as aerospace & defense, automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare, industrial automation and many others. Sensors convert changes in a physical quantity into electrical signals which can be monitored and acted upon by an electronic device. Applications range from monitoring airspeed, temperature, and humidity to reducing interference in cell phone signals.

Thin film deposition technology is emerging as a platform for a variety of sensor applications. Because thin films have a high relative surface area compared to bulk materials, they can be more sensitive to small changes in the local environment. Also, by varying the composition of the materials, the properties of the film can be tailored to suit a wide variety of applications. The simple structure of thin film sensors reduces their cost of manufacture and improves their accuracy and reliability, even under the harshest operating conditions.   Also, Denton Vacuum’s thin film ion beam etch technology can be employed to trim individual sensors to meet exacting device performance requirements.

  • MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) are devices used to create systems that combine mechanical and electrical components. MEMS devices are very small and can be used to fabricate levers, gears, pistons, motors and even steam engines. The accuracy and reliability of MEMS sensors depends largely on the design and, ultimately, the complicated fabrication of the insulated diaphragm. Denton Vacuum has developed several unique thin film deposition equipment configurations that can be tailored to meet the hardness, electrical resistivity, and wear resistance needs of MEMS sensors.


  • Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) and Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) technologies employ acoustic waves different ways and with different performance levels, especially at higher frequencies. A SAW component does much more than measure sound. Surface acoustic wave sensors are inherently able to sense pressure, strain, torque, temperature, and mass to be sensed. For SAW structures that process higher-frequency electromagnetic (EM) signals, RF frequencies can be translated into shorter-wavelength acoustic signal to create extremely small filters and resonators for SAW structures. BAW components measure the vibration within a bulk medium, such as a crystal, as opposed to the surface wave used in SAW sensors. BAW sensors are commonly used to filter cell phone, GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi signals to reduce radio frequency interference between the thousands of other devices working within today’s crowded radio frequencies.


  • Humidity sensors use thin films as the sending component to measure the relative humidity of an environment. As the high surface area attracts water molecules, this changes the conducting qualities of the thin film, which can be measured to determine the relative humidity of the environment.

Denton offers the most comprehensive production platforms and application solutions supporting support the needs of thin film sensor manufacturing.   Denton’s ProcessPro-HV controls platform delivers a number of essential capabilities including high speed factory communication, sophisticated data-logging, remote monitoring and access.