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Laser allows NEMS device to work in air

from the tuning-tiny-sensors dept.
Nano-Machines Get Some Fresh Air, posted Oct. 1, 2002 to Daily inScight, describes work that could considerably broaden the potential uses of NEMS (nanoelectromechanical) devices. The researchers used laser light shining through a 2 micrometer-square piece of silicon suspended by a pair of 200-nanometer-thick silicon beams to allow the silicon to vibrate at a precise frequency in air, the way that it would vibrate in a vacuum without the laser light. Since a single bacterium or several virus particles stuck to the square would change the vibration frequency, this advance opens the way to developing NEMS devices as ultrasensitive biodetectors.

The research by Harold Craighead, Lidija Sekaric, and colleagues at Cornell University was published in Applied Physics Letters, September 30, 2002, Volume 81, 2641-2643

Abstract:

Operation of nanomechanical resonant structures in air

L. Sekaric, M. Zalalutdinov, R. B. Bhiladvala, A. T. Zehnder, J. M. Parpia, and H. G. Craighead

We report on the resonant operation of high-quality-factor silicon nanomechanical structures in air and at room temperature. We describe techniques used to actuate and detect nanomechanical structures in atmosphere, resulting in the enhancement of the effective quality factor to above 1000 and demonstrate the potential for successful sensor operation of resonant nanomechanical structures under ambient conditions. ©2002 American Institute of Physics.

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