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

Yoav Kessler, B. Robert Ilic, Slava Krylov, Alex Liberzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 snap-through voltage to flow velocity sensitivity of dVST/du 0.13 V s m-1 with a power consumption of 360 μW. Our experimental results were in accord with the reduced order, coupled, thermo-electro-mechanical model prediction. We anticipate that electrostatically induced snap-through in curved, micromechanical beams will open new directions for the design and implementation of downscaled flow sensors for autonomous applications and environmental sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8468203
Pages (from-to)945-947
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Microsensors
  • electrothermal effects
  • fluid flow measurement

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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