Molecular Sensors for MEMS

By John P. Sullivan

School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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The use of Molecular Sensors for fluid mechanics and aerodynamics permits global, time resolved measurements of pressure, temperature and species concentration. The molecular sensors considered in this talk are known as Pressure Sensitive Paint and Temperature-Sensitive Paint (PSP/TSP). The method combines a luminescent molecule in a binder that is applied to the surface of the test article to form an optical-chemical sensor. The luminescence is excited by a lamp and the emission recorded on a digital camera. The luminescent intensity or luminescent time decay can be calibrated as a function of pressure or temperature and a non-intrusive, global measurement of pressure and/or temperature is obtained.

The small size (< nm) and fast time response (> 200 kHz) of molecular sensors, PSP and TSP, make them ideal candidates for time and spatially resolved measurements inside MEMS devices. The seminar will cover the issues involved in using molecular sensors in MEMS and their application to microchannels, supersonic micronozzles, microjet impingement, microturbines and unsteady fluidic actuators.


John P. SullivanJohn Sullivan is a Professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received a BS in 1967 from the University of Rochester and a M.S. (1969) and Ph.D. (1973) in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation, he co-founded a small high technology company in California. In 1975 he joined the faculty of Purdue University. His administrative experiences include, Director of th eCenter for Advanced Manufacturing, Co-Director of the Product Lifecycle Management Center of Excellence, Head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1993-1998), Associate Head (1991-1993) and Director of the Aerospace Sciences Laboratory(1983-1995). He directs graduate student research in the general area of experimental aerodynamics/fluidmechanics.

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  • John P. Sullivan (2009), "Molecular Sensors for MEMS,"

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