A Ratiometric Readout Circuit for Thermal-Conductivity-Based Resistive CO₂ Sensors

Z. Cai, Robert H.M. van Veldhoven, A. Falepin, H. Suy, E. Sterckx, C. Bitterlich, K.A.A. Makinwa, M.A.P. Pertijs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper reports a readout circuit for a resistive CO2 sensor, which operates by measuring the CO2-dependent thermal conductivity of air. A suspended hot-wire transducer, which acts both as a resistive heater and temperature sensor, exhibits a CO2-dependent heat loss to the surrounding air, allowing CO2 concentration to be derived from its temperature rise and power dissipation. The circuit employs a dual-mode incremental delta-sigma ADC to digitize these parameters relative to those of an identical, but isolated, reference transducer. This ratiometric approach results in a measurement that does not require precision voltage or power references. The readout circuit uses dynamically-swapped transducer pairs to cancel their baseline-resistance, so as to relax the required dynamic range of the ADC. In addition, dynamic element matching (DEM) is used to bias the transducer pairs at an accurate current ratio, making the measurement insensitive to the precise value of the bias current. The readout circuit has been implemented in a standard 0.16 μm CMOS technology. With commercial resistive micro-heaters, a CO2 sensing resolution of about 200 ppm (1σ) was achieved in a measurement time of 30 s. Similar results were obtained with CMOS-compatible tungsten-wire transducers, paving the way for fully-integrated CO2 sensors for air-quality monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2453‒2474
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid State Circuits
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • delta sigma modulator
  • CO2 sensor
  • gas sensor
  • thermal conductivity
  • thermal resistance
  • resistive sensor
  • RDC
  • ratiometric

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