Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Ronald A. Coutu, PhD.


Buckled membranes are commonly used microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) structures. Recent work has demonstrated that the deflection and stiffness of these membranes can be tuned through localized joule heating. These devices were implemented into the design and fabrication of two novel device applications, a tunable pressure sensor and a steerable micromirror. A differential pressure across the membrane causes de reflection, up or down, which can be measured and related to a specific pressure. By tuning the stiffness of the membrane, its pressure response is varied providing a wider range of application for the pressure sensor. A 2.0mm by 2.0mm square membrane demonstrated a 60 percent decrease in pressure sensitivity from 1.433m/psi to 0.55m/psi. A steerable micromirror was realized by selectively heating a single quadrant of a buckled membrane, localized heating results in membrane de deflection constrained to that quadrant.

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DTIC Accession Number