A non-intrusive diagnostic technique, infrared micro-particle image velocimetry (IR-PIV), is developed for measuring flow fields within MEMS devices with micron-scale resolution. This technique capitalizes on the transparency of silicon in the infrared region, and overcomes the limitation posed by the lack of optical access with visible light to sub-surface flow in silicon-based micro-structures. Experiments with laminar flow of water in a circular micro-capillary tube of hydraulic diameter 255 μm demonstrate the efficacy of this technique. The experimental measurements agree very well with velocity profiles predicted from laminar theory. Cross-correlation and auto-correlation algorithms are employed to measure very-low and moderate-to-high velocities, respectively; the former approach is suitable for biomedical applications while the latter would be needed for measurements in electronics cooling. The results indicate that the IR-PIV technique effectively extends the application of regular micro-PIV techniques, and has great potential for flow measurements in silicon-based microdevices.

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