We present a polymer-based mechanical sensor with an integrated strain sensor element. Conventionally, silicon has been used as a piezoresistive material due to its high gauge factor and thereby high sensitivity to strain changes in the sensor. By using the fact that the polymer SU-8  is much softer than silicon and that a gold resistor is easily incorporated in SU-8, we have proven that a SU-8-based cantilever sensor is almost as sensitive to stress changes as the silicon piezoresistive cantilever. First, the surface stress sensing principle is discussed, from which it can be shown that the SU-8-based sensor is nearly as sensitive as the silicon based mechanical sensor. We hereafter demonstrate the chip fabrication technology of such a sensor, which includes multiple SU-8 and gold layer deposition. The SU-8-based mechanical sensor is finally characterized with respect to sensitivity, noise and device failure. The characterization shows that there is a good agreement between the expected and the obtained performance.
Journal of Physics D-applied Physics, 2002, Vol 35, Issue 21, p. 2698-2703