A microacoustic analysis including viscosity and thermal conductivity to model the effect of the protective cap on the acoustic response of a MEMS microphone

Microsystem Technologies, February 2014, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 265-272.

D. Homentcovschi, R. N. Miles, P. V. Loeppert, A. J. Zuckerwar.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, State University of New York, Binghamton, NY, 13902-6000, USA and

Knowles Electronics LLC, 1151 Maplewood Drive, Itasca, IL, 60143-2071, USA and

Analytical Services and Materials, 107 Research Drive, Hampton, VA, 23666-1340, USA .


An analysis is presented of the effect of the protective cover on the acoustic response of a miniature silicon microphone. The microphone diaphragm is contained within a small rectangular enclosure and the sound enters through a small hole in the enclosure’s top surface. A numerical model is presented to predict the variation in the sound field with position within the enclosure. An objective of this study is to determine up to which frequency the pressure distribution remains sufficiently uniform so that a pressure calibration can be made in free space. The secondary motivation for this effort is to facilitate microphone design by providing a means of predicting how the placement of the microphone diaphragm in the package affects the sensitivity and frequency response. While the size of the package is typically small relative to the wavelength of the sounds of interest, because the dimensions of the package are on the order of the thickness of the viscous boundary layer, viscosity can significantly affect the distribution of sound pressure around the diaphragm. In addition to the need to consider viscous effects, it is shown here that one must also carefully account for thermal conductivity to properly represent energy dissipation at the system’s primary acoustic resonance frequency. The sound field is calculated using a solution of the linearized system consisting of continuity equation, Navier–Stokes equations, the state equation and the energy equation using a finite element approach. The predicted spatial variation of both the amplitude and phase of the sound pressure is shown over the range of audible frequencies. Excellent agreement is shown between the predicted and measured effects of the package on the microphone’s sensitivity.

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