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Flow sensor based on the snap-through detection of a curved micromechanical beam



Yoav Kessler, Robert Ilic, Slava Krylov, Alexander Liberzon


We report on a flow velocity measurement technique based on snap-through detection of an electrostatically actuated, bistable micromechanical beam. We show that induced elecro-thermal Joule heating and the convective air cooling change the beam curvature and consequently the critical snap-through voltage (VST ). Using single crystal silicon beams, we demonstrate the snapthrough voltage to flow velocity sensitivity of dV_ST/du 0.13 (V s m^-1) with a power consumption of 360 W. Our experimental results were in accord with the reduced order, coupled, thermo-electro-mechanical model prediction. We anticipate that electrostatically induced snapthrough in curved, micromechanical beams will open new directions for the design and implementation of downscaled flow sensors for autonomous applications and environmental sensors.
IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems


MEMS, snap-through, curved microbeam, flow sensor, electrothermal actuator


Kessler, Y. , Ilic, R. , Krylov, S. and Liberzon, A. (2018), Flow sensor based on the snap-through detection of a curved micromechanical beam, IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, [online],, (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created November 30, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021