Design, Fabrication, and Characterization of a Micro Coriolis Mass Flow Sensor Driven by PZT Thin Film Actuators

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A micro Coriolis flow sensor accurately measures small mass flows without being affected by properties of the fluid. This paper presents a micro Coriolis mass flow sensor driven by PZT thin film piezoelectric actuators, which allows a combination of large actuation force, low power dissipation and virtually no self-heating. The sensor was fabricated using surface channel technology, resulting in a tube diameter of 40 μm and a thin silicon-rich silicon nitride tube wall of 1.2 μm  thick, with a few additional steps to form the integrated piezoelectric actuators. The integrated actuators can actuate the sensor into both swing mode and twist mode. Both actuation modes were evaluated for different fluids and the results are presented in this paper. In the case of swing mode actuation, an optical readout was used to detect the resulting Coriolis movement, resulting in a relatively low sensitivity. In the case of twist mode actuation, a capacitive readout was used and, in comparison to previously published devices, a high mass flow sensitivity was achieved thanks to an optimized readout design. The measurement results show the read-out noise has a standard deviation of 0.15% of the full scale of 1.8 gh-1 when actuated in the twist mode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-896
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of microelectromechanical systems
Issue number6
Early online date3 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021


  • Coriolis mass flow sensor
  • PZT
  • capacitive readout
  • density compensation
  • fluid-structure interaction
  • piezoelectric actuator


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