NanoDay 2020 Poster 07 – Austin Vera

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An Optical MEMS-Based Dynamic Pressure Sensor for High-Temperature Applications

Austin Vera (LinkedIn)

Authors: Mark Sheplak

Faculty Mentor: Mark Sheplak, PhD

College: College of Engineering

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering & Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Presently, there is a lack of experimental data regarding the pressure field surrounding hypersonic projectiles and within the internals of gas turbine engines due to the inability of modern instrumentation to withstand the extreme temperatures associated with these harsh environments. The proposed solution to these problems is a sapphire-based dynamic pressure sensor that employs an optical transduction scheme to enable continuous measurements above 1000°C. Picosecond pulsed laser micromachining and thermocompression bonding will be leveraged for fabricating the sapphire back cavity and bonding it to the sapphire diaphragm. A sapphire fiber, polished within a zirconia ferrule, will be used to ensure there are no large mismatches in thermal expansion coefficients. A fiber-optic lever transduction scheme will be implemented, which monitors the change of light intensity between exit and re-entry of the fiber as the distance of light travel is altered by the pressure-induced motion of the diaphragm. This technique offers the advantage of remotely located sensor electronics, electromagnetic immunity, and reduced sensitivity to environmental conditions and disturbances when compared to other optical schemes. Moreover, the fabrication of the sensor will be on a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based scale to reduce spatial averaging, provide a wide frequency bandwidth, and to enable the potential for array-style testing.


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