Flat-Package MEMS Fuselage Microphones for External Airplane Fluctuating Pressure Field Measurements – SBIR Phase 2

Contract Number – 80NSSC22CA057 | SBIR Phase 2 | Principal Investigator – David Mills | Project Start Date – 5/31/2022

The Interdisciplinary Consulting Corporation (IC2) proposes to develop a complete system for in-flight aeroacoustics measurements including an ultra-low-profile, ultra-smooth sensing surface, instrumentation-grade microphone using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) piezoelectric sensing with backside electrical contacts and advanced packaging technology. The goal of this research is to develop microphones, microphone packages, and a data acquisition system that meet the demanding in-flight performance requirements for aeroacoustic and aerodynamic applications that have anything to do with external airplane fluctuating pressure field measurements, while leveraging MEMS batch-fabrication technology to reduce the sensor size and significantly reduce the cost per channel. The complete measurement system will address the installation complexity, time, and cost challenges associated with data collection from sensors on the exterior of an aircraft.

This work is aimed at fulfilling the aerospace industry’s need for economically viable sensing technology that meets required metrics for flight testing for a broad class of fluctuating pressure measurement use cases. The proposed microphones and data acquisition system will expand NASA’s technology portfolio to allow for faster, higher-accuracy, lower-effort/cost testing by minimizing the technological, logistical, and cost-prohibitive issues associated with high-channel-count, high-bandwidth, fluctuating pressure measurement installations on the exterior of an aircraft. These improvements will allow for increased measurement fidelity and enable NASA to fully leverage expensive flight-test programs to gather comprehensive fluctuating pressure field information that cannot be practically acquired using existing technology.

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