We experimentally demonstrate a new pressure sensor that offers the flexibility of being scalable to small sizes up to the nano regime. Unlike conventional pressure sensors that rely on large diaphragms and big-surface structures, the principle of operation here relies on convective cooling of the air surrounding an electrothermally heated resonant structure, which can be a beam or a bridge. This concept is demonstrated using an electrothermally tuned and electrostatically driven MEMS resonator, which is designed to be deliberately curved. We show that the variation of pressure can be tracked accurately by monitoring the change in the resonance frequency of the resonator at a constant electrothermal voltage. We show that the range of the sensed pressure and the sensitivity of detection are controllable by the amount of the applied electrothermal voltage. Theoretically, we verify the device concept using a multi-physics nonlinear finite element model. The proposed pressure sensor is simple in principle and design and offers the possibility of further miniaturization to the nanoscale.

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