Micromachined Resonator-Based Charge and Electric Field Sensors: A Review

  • Emad Esmaeili
  • Behraad BahreyniEmail author


An electrometer is a sensor to measure electric charge. Electrometers are needed in various applications, ranging from the detection of ionization charges in nuclear physics, counting ions in mass spectroscopy, and space exploration, among others. Most electrometers measure the charge indirectly. For instance, solid-state electrometers measure the electric potential that is generated by an induced charge across the electrodes of a known capacitance. Devices such as gold-leaf electrometer, on the other hand, measure the columbic force between charges. Yet some other electrometers utilize a continuously varying capacitor to convert input charge to an AC current which is often easier to measure. Solid-state and vacuum-tube based electrometers have been developed as miniaturized, low-cost alternatives to traditional systems. These devices, however, suffer from drift, low-frequency noise, and leakage. Micromachined electrometers have been developed to address such short comings. Resonant sensing is often employed due to the need for resolving rather small forces from input charges. In this chapter, we will look at two main approaches for the design of micromachined electrometers, where the input charge affects the response of either a single micro-resonator or the combined response of coupled micro-resonators. We also discuss some micromachined devices for the measurement of electric field, as such devices in many applications can be utilized as electrometers.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechatronic Systems EngineeringSimon Fraser UniversitySurreyCanada

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