It is generally accepted that the piezo-resistive coefficient in single crystal silicon is higher when P-type impurities such as boron are used for doping the resistors. In this paper we demonstrate that the sensitivity of polycrystalline silicon piezo-resistive pressure sensors can be enhanced considerably when phosphorus diffusion source is used instead of boron dopant for realizing the piezo-resistors. Pressure sensors have been designed and fabricated with the polycrystalline piezo-resistors connected in the form of a Wheatstone bridge and laid out on thermal oxide grown on membranes obtained with a Silicon On Insulator (SOI) approach. The SOI wafers required for this purpose have been realized in-house by Silicon Fusion Bonding (SFB) and etch back technique in our laboratory. This approach provides excellent isolation between the resistors and enables zero temperature coefficient of the polysilicon resistor. The results obtained in our laboratory have clearly demonstrated that by optimizing the phosphorus diffusion temperature and duration, it is possible to achieve sensitivities in excess of 20mV /Bar for bridge input voltage of 10V, with linearity within 1% over a differential pressure range up to 10Bar (10 6Pascal), and burst pressure in excess of 50 Bar as compared to the 10mV /Bar sensitivity obtained with boron doped polysilicon piezo-resistors. This enhancement is attributed to grain boundary passivation by phosphorous atoms. © 2006 IOP Publishing Ltd.