Author ORCID Identifier

Meysam Daeichin

Shahrzad Towfighian

Document Type


Publication Date



A tunable threshold pressure sensor based on parametric resonance of a microbeam subjected to electrostatic levitation is proposed. Parametric excitation can trigger a large amplitude vibration at twice the natural frequency if the magnitude of the driving force is large enough to overcome energy loss mechanisms in the system such as squeeze film damping. This causes a temporarily unstable response with a significant gain in oscillation amplitude over time until it is eventually capped by nonlinearities in the force or material or geometric properties. The instability divides the frequency region into two regions: distinct responses bounded by the system non-linearity, and trivial responses with very low oscillation amplitudes. It is shown experimentally that the appearance of parametric resonance depends on the pressure, which influences the amount of energy loss from squeeze film damping. Therefore, the distinct difference in the vibration amplitude can be used to detect when the pressure passes a threshold level. The activation of parametric resonance also depends on the amplitude of the driving force (). This voltage amplitude can be set to trigger parametric resonance when the pressure drops below a predetermined threshold. A reduced-order model is developed using the Euler–Bernoulli beam theory to elucidate the non-linear dynamics of the system. The simulation results from the mathematical model are in good agreement with the experimental data. The advantages of the proposed sensor over pull-in based sensors are its reliability and improved resolution from a large signal-to-noise ratio.

Publisher Attribution

Published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering

© 2020 IOP Publishing Ltd

DOI 10.1088/1361-6439/abce9c



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.