National Physical Laboratory

NEMS NEMS

Nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) are an important new type of device with a growing range of applications: from nanoscale measurement, through many possible sensors to tests of basic quantum mechanics.


Nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) are an important new type of device with a growing range of applications: from nanoscale measurement, through many possible sensors to tests of basic quantum mechanics. NEMS resonators will enable extremely sensitive measurements of e.g. sub-piconewton forces, femtometre displacement, attogram masses and single charge, amongst other metrology.

NanoSQUID with beam/paddle
A beam/paddle mechanical resonator coupled to readout SQUID

Our aim is the development of NEMS based nanosensors with multi-property metrology capability leading in the longer term to quantum measurement. Our novel approach is to develop two methods, including excitation, detection and sideband cooling of cantilever-style NEMS resonators.

The first of these involves near-field microwave resonator with strongly localised coupling to the mechanical resonator, allowing non-equilibrium manipulation of the coupled system. We have already demonstrated 'side-band cooling' of a mechanical resonator (analogous to laser cooling of an atom) using a near-field microwave resonator[1,2] and are developing novel pulsed techniques to exploit the measurement capabilities of this new technique.

The second method is applicable at cryogenic temperatures using a nanoSQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) [3,4] as a sensitive readout of the tiny displacement of a NEMS resonator in the high frequency regime (up to 1 GHz). NPL's development of very low-noise nanoSQUIDs using focussed ion beam techniques has enabled a good match between nanomechanical resonators and the readout system.

We are developing both top-down and bottom up nanofabricated resonators, in 1D and 2D, using a variety of materials including high stress Si3N4, carbon nanotubes and even graphene.

References

  1. L. Hao, J C Gallop and D. C. Cox, Appl. Phys. Lett., Vol. 95, p113501 (2009)
  2. L. Hao, S. Goniszewski, J. Chen and J. Gallop,Accepted for Applied Surface Science, (2011)
  3. L. Hao et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., Vol. 92 p192507 (2008)
  4. L. Hao et al , IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond., Vol.19, no.3, p693-696 (2009)

People working on project

External Collaborators

Recent Publications

Posters, papers and other media

  • L Hao - Excitation, detection and sideband cooling of a NEMS resonator (Talk)
  • L Hao - NanoSQUIDs for NEMS resonators (Talk)
  • L Hao - Microwave Investigation of Graphene and Graphene Oxide Properties (Poster)
  • D Cox - Fabrication of nano-mechanical resonators by FIB (Talk)

Useful links

Electrical Transport in CNTs and Membranes

Nano-Thermal and Electrical Transport

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