Optical Flow Sensor Using Geometric Moiré Interferometry
We report on a feasibility study of an optical micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) flow sensor to measure flow rate using Moiré fringe displacement of a floating element. Due to constraints on weight, power, and size for space environmental systems, the development of sensor components that minimize the equivalent systems mass (ESM) while maintaining or exceeding required specifications is highly desirable. A feature of the optical detection method is a physical separation of electrical components from the flow stream. The geometric Moiré fringe shift optically amplifies small displacements by the ratio of the fringe pitch to the movable grating pitch that is detected using an external CCD imager, providing an electrically isolated, robust, direct scheme for detecting flow from shear stress induced displacement.