Advantages of electrostatic spring hardening in biomimetic hair flow sensors

Harmen Droogendijk, Meint J. de Boer, Remco G.P. Sanders, Gijs J.M. Krijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


We report on a fully adaptable flow sensor with adjustable detection limit, responsivity, range, and bandwidth by addition of electrostatic spring hardening (ESH) to our previously developed microelectromechanical systems hair flow sensors. The sensor's mechanical transfer shows large voltage-controlled electromechanically affected responsivity for frequencies below the sensor's resonance. Using capacitive readout, a bias voltagecontrolled sensory threshold is obtained, giving a threefold tunable ac-airflow detection threshold (down to 0.3 mms-1). The mechanism of spring control also extends to dc-flows, as shown for the first time; electrostatic spring hardening allows to increase the dc-flow measurement range by almost a factor 2, up to about 5 ms-1. Furthermore, the application of ESH is demonstrated both theoretically and experimentally for nonresonant parametric amplification (NRPA) by achieving suppression of residual frequency components at the cost of overall gain. In addition, we show that ESH allows to extend selective gain and tunable filtering by NRPA to a larger range of flow frequencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1415-1425
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of microelectromechanical systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • TST-Life like
  • Electrostatics
  • spring hardening
  • Biomimetics
  • Hair flow sensor
  • 2023 OA procedure


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