9781424418824/08/$25.
00 © 2008 IEEE
PROC. 26th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MICROELECTRONICS (MIEL 2008), NIŠ, SERBIA, 1114 MAY, 2008
Micro and Nanosystems Based on Vibrating Structures
Z. Djuriü
Abstract  Invention of the scanning force microscope in
1986 and development of micro and nanofabrication technologies
yielded a new generation of vibration based miniature sensors of
physical, chemical and biological parameters, with sensitivity
which could not be achieved before. This promoted again the
research of micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS
and NEMS) in the fields that have been dominated by
semiconductor electronics for more than a half of century.
In this paper the principles of operation of the miniature
vibrating structures are given. A particular attention is given to
the fact that the mass of these structures is of the order of tens of
picograms, and that their dimensions can be in the sub
micrometer range, where the effects of Brownian motion of
particles in the surroundings become significant. These effects are
expressed as thermomechanical noise which in most cases
determines the ultimate sensor performances. Also, adsorption
and desorption (AD) of particles (atoms, molecules) on the
surface of miniature vibrating structures generate the AD noise.
Vibrating micro and nanostructures are important not only
for the new sensor components, but also for a multitude of other
applications. As an illustration, I will mention a new generation
of MEMS oscillators, which successfully replaces the traditional
quartz oscillators in some contemporary applications. Also, a new
generation of processors which utilize builtin miniature
mechanical structures is envisioned.
I. INTRODUCTION
The idea to exploit the basic operating principles of
atomic force microscope (AFM) for sensing devices
appeared immediately after invention of AFM [110].
During the past ten years or so, based on the platform of
micro and nanocantilevers, a new generation of sensors
emerged for measurement of physical, chemical,
biophysical and biochemical parameters with very high
sensitivity, low energy consumption and high reliability.
Most of these sensors operate in the oscillation mode. This
mode establishes either as a result of an external excitation
or due to the selfoscillation effect. In both cases the
measured parameter affects the amplitude, phase or
frequency of oscillation of the vibrating structure.
The vibrating structures can be made either of one
material only or of several different materials. This fact
expands the range of application of vibrating structures.
For example, if a cantilever is made of two materials of
different coefficients of thermal expansion, a bimaterial
effect occurs (bending of the cantilever due to change of
the temperature), that can be utilized for temperature
measurement, for detection of infrared radiation [10] etc.
There has been an explosion in the use of micro/nano
cantilevers for sensing of various biological species [35].
The presence of a surrounding fluid significantly influences
the vibration characteristics of such devices. For example,
the cantilever resonant frequency decreases by an order of
magnitude when it is moved from the air in a liquid, while
the Qfactor decreases by two orders of magnitude. The
detection of single molecules in a liquid is the grand goal
of microcantilever biosensors and could have a significant
impact in the field of genomics and proteomics [3].
Vibrating microstructures are used as frequency
determining components of MEMS oscillators [11]. In
modern wireless telecommunication equipment there is a
pressing need for substitution of the quartz oscillators with
the smaller MEMS oscillators, which are manufactured
using silicon technologies and thus can be integrated on the
same chip with other electronic components. This enables
further miniaturization of the electronic devices. The
commercial use of MEMS oscillators has recently begun.
During the last several years great research efforts
have been made to utilize the vibrating nanostructures as
basic components of a new generation of computers, the
socalled nanomechanical computers (NMC) [12, 13]. The
basic element of NMC is a nanoelectromechanical single
electron transistor, which contains a nanocantilever.
In the next chapter a theoretic analysis of an
oscillating structure will be given, which enables us to
describe the operating principle of sensors which are used
in the dynamic mode, in gaseous and liquid environments.
The same theory is applicable to the analysis of vibrating
structures which are used as MEMS oscillators, and also
those intended for the future nanomechanical computers.
The theory of the main noise mechanisms in vibrating
micro and nanostructures will also be presented. It is used
for determination of the ultimate performances of such
devices. A short overview of the MEMS oscillators will be
given, including their advantages and the problems that had
to be solved during the years of development of these
components. Finally, the nanomechanical computers will
be presented as an example of another interesting and
promising application of vibrating nanostructures.
II. THEORETIC CONSIDERATION
A. Micro and nanocantilever vibrations
Our introductory theoretic consideration will begin
with the basics of the oscillating mechanical structures
Z. Djuriü is with the IHTM – Institute of Microelectronic
Technologies and Single Crystals, University of Belgrade,
Njegoševa 12, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia,
Email: zdjuric@nanosys.ihtm.bg.ac.yu
theory. As an illustrative example, we will use a miniature
cantilever of the rectangular crosssection A=W·h and the
length L, shown in Fig. 1.
For small amplitudes, the mechanical properties of the
beam structures can be analytically described by the Euler
Bernoulli theory [14, 15]
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
( ) t x F
t
t x w
t
t x w
A
x
t x w
N
x
t x w
EI ,
, , , ,
2
2
2
2
4
4
·
=
c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
÷
c
c
n p
(1)
Here, w(x,t) is the flexural deflection, EI is the flexural
stiffness, ȡA is the mass per unit length of the resonator
beam, N is the axial force, Ș is the damping coefficient and
F is a driving force per unit length. In micromechanical
devices, very often the beam width is large, i.e. W5h, and
thus it is necessary to use E/(1Ȟ
2
) instead of E in Eq. (1),
where Ȟ is the Poisson ratio of the beam material.
The solutions of Eq. (1) are usually obtained by using
the method of separation of variables [15]. Consequently,
the displacement w(x,t) of the beam can be split into time
and position dependent components, and the result can be
expressed as a sum of the motion in each mode n,
( ) ( ) ( ) x t q t x w
n n
m
¯
= , (2)
Here ĳ
n
(x) is the mode shape function based on the
coordinate along the beam, and q
n
(t) is the time dependent
amplitude of motion for mode n. By substituting the Eq.
(2), in Eq. (1), we obtain the equation for the mode shape
function, and the time dependent classical oscillator
equation for the modal function q
n
(t). The beam deflection
in an arbitrary point x
0
(w
n
(t)=ĳ
n
(x
0
)q
n
(t)), corresponding to
the mode n, can be obtained from
( ) ( ) ( ) t F t w k dt t dw dt t w d m
n n n n n n
= + + ) / ( ) / ) ( (
2 2
¸ (3)
where the modal parameters are: the effective mass m
n
, the
damping factor Ȗ
n
=m
n
Ȧ
n
/Q
n
, the resonant frequency Ȧ
n
, the
Qfactor Q
n
, and k
n
=Ȧ
n
2
m
n
, the stiffness constant. These
parameters are functions of the parameters from Eq. (1) and
also of the particular mode shape functions obtained for the
mechanical resonator with the corresponding boundary
conditions. On the left side of the Fig. 1 the first three
modes are shown for the cases of a homogenous (SiO
2
) and
a bimaterial (SiO
2
/Ni) cantilever clamped at one end. On
the right side of Fig. 1 the corresponding oscillating modes
are shown for a SiO
2
cantilever clamped at both ends.
The dissipation of the mechanical vibration energy of
a microbeam, which determines the Qfactor, can occur due
to internal structural damping, the support loss and the
viscous losses in the surrounding fluid.
A change in any of the coefficients that stand by the
spatial or time derivatives in Eqs. (1) and (3) cause
changes of the oscillation amplitude, phase or resonant
frequency of the beam structure. The principle of operation
of MEMS/NEMS sensors with vibrating sensing element is
based on this influence.
Fig. 1 The first three oscillating modes for a cantilever clamped at
one end (left) and at both ends (right).
As a first example, we will consider the influence of
the axial force, N, applied along a beam clamped at both
ends. This is the principle of operation of vibrating pressure
sensors. This example is also important because the
following theory can be utilized for determination of both
the influence of thermomechanical stress on the resonant
frequency and the MEMS oscillator resonant frequency
fluctuations due to temperature fluctuations.
In the case of a doubleclamped beam, the exact
expression for the n
th
mode resonant frequency, ensuring
that the solution for the mode shape functions satisfies the
boundary conditions, is
2 2 2
/ 1 / ) / )( 3 / 1 (
n n n
z z E L h f c p t + = , (4)
where ȟ=3NL/(Eh
2
W), and z
n
are solutions of the equation
( ) 
.

\

+ + ÷ =
2 2
/ 1 / 1 z z tgh z z tg c c , (5)
while an approximate expression for Ȧ
n
=2ʌf
n
is [24]
5 . 0 3 2 5 . 0 2 2
)) /( 1 ( ) / ))( 12 /( ( EWh NL ī E L h
n n n
+ = p o e .(6)
f
0
=38.4 kHz
f
1
=240.2 kHz
f
2
=673.8 kHz
f
0
=245.3 kHz
f
1
=676.1 kHz
f
2
=1327 kHz
L
W h
1MHz
SiO
2
bridge
A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
[
a
.
u
]
SiO
2
/Ni
1MHz 100k 10k
SiO
2
Numeric calculations show that for the first and the
second mode Į
1
=4.730, ī
1
=0.295, Į
2
=7.853, ī
2
=0.145.
The axial force along the beam of homogenous cross
section can be represented by the mechanical stress, ı, as
N=ıA. For low stress ı, the frequency change is
proportional to the stress and the squared ratio of the length
and thickness of the beam.
It is already said in the introduction that at this time a
great interest exists for development of highly sensitive
biological sensors (for detection of certain kinds of cells in
human physiological liquids and early diagnostics of
diseases) [3]. Therefore a short introduction will be given
to the theory of oscillations of microcantilevers in liquids.
At the microscale, viscous losses in fluids are
typically two to three orders of magnitude greater than
other losses. The surrounding fluid also affects the natural
frequencies of the microbeam due to socalled added mass
of the surrounding fluid to the microbeam.
In interaction with an oscillating structure, the
surrounding fluid causes two effects: inertial and
dissipative. Hence, fluidic drag force can be expressed as
t v m v F
f f f
c c + = / ¸ (7)
where v=dw/dt is the velocity, and Ȗ
f
and m
f
are the
parameters modelling the dissipative and inertial effects of
the fluid, respectively. The total external force F on the
structure in the fluid can be defined as a contribution of
both the drive force F
0
and fluidic drag, so that F=F
0
F
f
.
In vacuum F=F
0
. Hence, based on eq. (3), the mode
equation of motion in the complex domain is
  ( ) ( ) e e e¸ e e
0
2 2
0
/ F w m i m = + ÷ , (8)
where m is the oscillator effective mass, Ȧ
0
is the resonant
frequency, and Ȗ=Ȧ
0
m/Q is the damping factor of the
corresponding mode. Using (7), the equation of motion can
be reorganized for fluid as [9]
  ( ) ( ) e e e¸ e e
0
2 2
/ F w m i m
F F F F
= + ÷ (9)
where the equivalent parameters are m
F
=m+m
f
=m(1+ȕ
f
),
Ȧ
F
=Ȧ
0
(1+ȕ
f
)
1/2
and Q
F
=Ȧ
F
m(1+ ȕ
f
)/(Ȗ+Ȗ
f
).
Determination of the coefficients m
f
and Ȗ
f
requires
solving of the complex NavierStokes equations for a fluid
that surrounds the oscillating cantilevers [6, 16]. The issues
pertinent to a vibrating microbeam in a fluid can be broadly
divided into three parts: (i) those that deal with a single
microbeam vibrating in fluid, (ii) those that deal with single
microbeam vibrating close to a surface, and (iii) those that
address the hydrodynamic coupling between microbeams
in fluids or microbeams bounded by a confined liquid [9].
As an illustration, an approximate solution will be given for
incompressible fluids, obtained in [16] by curve fitting of
the numerical results for the case (i)
) 065 . 0 Re 4 . 4 )( 2 / (
3 / 2
+ =
÷
W m
f f
e tp (10)
) 1 Re 8 . 2 )( 2 / (
2 / 1 2
+ =
÷
W
f f
e tp ¸ (11)
Here the Reynolds number Re=Ȧȡ
f
W
2
/(4ȝ) describes the
ratio of inertia to friction terms, and ȡ
f
and ȝ are the fluid
density and viscosity, respectively.
B. Fluctuation phenomena
Fluctuations of parameters of miniature MEMS and
NEMS vibration structures increase as their physical
dimensions decrease [15]. These fluctuations determine
both the ultimate performances of the sensors and the
minimal power required for transition between the states 0
and 1 in digital systems. In oscillating systems, the
amplitude of these fluctuations is mostly determined by the
intensity of the dissipation processes. So, for example, the
thermomechanical noise (fluctuation of the deflection)
increases for several orders of magnitude when the
cantilever is brought from vacuum into a liquid. Thus the
sensitivity of a BioNEMS sensor is significantly reduced.
In the following text the basic mechanisms that generate
the main noises in MEMS and NEMS vibrating structures
are analysed, with the objective to achieve the optimal
performance of the devices based on such structures.
1. Thermomechanical noise. If the temperature
around our mechanical oscillator is finite and if the system
is in thermodynamic equilibrium, then the mechanical
oscillator must encompass some level of random
movement. These stochastic vibrations basically form
thermomechanical (TM) noise. The magnitude of these
random vibrations depends on the damping level in the
oscillator. Namely, to avoid breaking the second law of
thermodynamics, the model of a damped harmonic
oscillator must be supplemented by a generator of noise
force with a sufficient amplitude to keep the level of
stochastic vibrations dictated by the system temperature.
Without this generator of noise force, the system damping
will stop any oscillations, which would mean that the
system is at zero temperature. This would contradict the
assumed condition of thermal equilibrium at a temperature
different from zero.
For a linear dissipative system the generalized form
of the Nyquist theorem was given by Callen and Welton in
1951 17. This general theorem determines the relation
between the “impedance” and the fluctuations of the
“generalized force”. The mathematical formulation of this
socalled fluctuationdissipation theorem has the form
( ) ( )
í
= e e e t d T E R F , ) / 2 (
2
(12)
where R(e) is the real part of the impedance Z(e)=F/v, and
E(e,T) is the oscillator's mean energy at a temperature T
with a frequency e
( ) ( )
1
1 ) / exp( 2 ,
÷
÷ + = T k T E
B
e e e e = = = (13)
At higher temperatures (k
B
T>>ʄe, E(e,T)~k
B
T, where
k
B
is the Boltzmann constant) spectral distribution of
thermal noise force is
( ) ( ) ( ) e e e TR k Z T k df F d F
B B TM N
4 } Re{ 4 /
2 2
,
= = = .(14)
Ɍhe spectral density of displacement is
( ) ( ) { } e e e Y T k S
B w
Re ) / 4 (
2
= , (15)
where Re{Y(e)} is the real part of the mechanical
admittance Y(e)=Z
1
(e). From (3) we obtain Y(e) and
using (15) the power spectral density of displacement is
( )   ( )
1 2
0
2
2 2
0 0
) ))( /( 4 (
÷
+ ÷ = Q mQ T k S
B w
ee e e e e . (16)
2. Frequency noise. The performance of the micro
cantilever dynamic sensors depends on various noise
generation mechanisms. These mechanisms include noise
in readout circuits (where the most important noise is the
noise arising from a cantilever deflection sensor) and
intrinsic frequency cantilever noise. The recent studies [18]
have shown that the spectral density of the deflection
sensor noise can be one order of magnitude lower than the
cantilever intrinsic noise for the frequency offset (ff
0
),
which is less than the practically used bandwidth B
(typically less than 1kHz). Due to this, we will analyse the
intrinsic cantilever noise dominated by two basic
independent noise generation mechanisms. The first
mechanism is related to the induced stress in the cantilever
due to spontaneous fluctuations of its temperature during
the heat exchange with the ambient. These stress
fluctuations generate the resonant frequency fluctuations
( ) ( )
2 4 2 2
2
2
0
2
,
/ ) 2 /(
N T i T N
T h L ī f f f A = A o (17)
where Į
T
is the coefficient of temperature expansion, f
0
is
the stressfree cantilever resonant frequency and f
i
is the
resonant frequency of the cantilever with intrinsic stress ı
i
.
The frequency f
i
equals Ȧ
i
/(2ʌ), where Ȧ
i
is given by the
expression (6), in which N=ı
i
Wh.
According to [15], the temperature fluctuations are
B R T k T
th th B n
1 2 2 2 2
) 1 ( 4
÷
+ = A t e , (18)
where R
th
is the thermal resistance, and Ĳ
th
is the thermal
time constant.
The second noise mechanism is related to the case
when the proposed sensor is the selfoscillating system
with positive feedback. It is well known that selfsustained
oscillators universally exhibit linewidth broadening of
varying degree in their output power spectra. This
linewidth broadening, often referred to as phase noise, is
caused by noise inherent to the oscillator and is a measure
of spectral purity of the oscillator signal. In a short form,
the physics of the phase nose is as follows. The trajectory
of the steadystate oscillation in the deflectionvelocity
state space is a closed curve due to periodicity and is called
the limit cycle. In the presence of noise, the fluctuations
would remain small in the radial (amplitude) direction due
to the tendency of the state to return to the limit cycle.
Fluctuation in the direction along the limit cycle does not
experience restoring force to return the phase to its original
value. That means that, in the presence of noise, the state
point experienced Brownian motion, or the phase
undergoes diffusion process, with the diffusion constant
D
ĳ
. To determine the spectral density of the phase noise, it
is necessary to solve the Langevin or the corresponding
FockerPlanck equation.
Utilizing the definition of phase noise for given
frequency offset ǻȦ=2ʌ(ff
0
) and the mentioned solution of
the stochastic equation, we obtain for the phase noise [19]
1 2 2
) ) (( 2 ) (
÷
+ A = A +
m m
e e D D (19)
The diffusion constant is given by the expression
D
ĳ
=k
B
Te
0
/(A
0
2
k
eff
Q
eff
), where k
eff
is the effective stiffness
constant, A
0
is the oscillation amplitude and Q
eff
is not a
conventional quality factor. Q
eff
, defined above, is a direct
measure of the amount of noise in the oscillator as it
includes every noise source in the detector system. If a
noise source has the thermal origin, for example a thermal
vibration of the cantilever which is the most dominant
noise source in our case, Q
eff
becomes a conventional
quality factor Q.
The relation between the spectral densities of the
frequency and phase noise is <ǻȦ
N
2
>=Ȍ(ǻȦ)(ǻȦ)
2
. After
integration within the bandwidth B, the power spectral
density of the frequency noise is obtained in the form
B x arctg x C f
B N
)) ( (
2
,
÷ = A (20)
where C=D
ĳ
2
/(2t
3
B) and x=tB/D
ĳ
.
It is interesting to note that for large x (x>>1), i.e. for
ǻȦ>>D
ĳ
, the well known T.R. Albrecht et al. expression
[20] for the TM frequency noise
) 2 /(
2
0 0
2
,
kQA TB k f f
B B N
t = A (21)
can be obtained from (20). This expression is universally
used for the frequency noise analysis for the AFM.
Since the two dominant intrinsic noise generation
mechanisms are mutually independent, the power spectral
density of the total frequency noise equals the sum of the
components <Af
N,T
2
> and <Af
N,B
2
>.
3. AD processes. In the case of structures of small
dimensions and mass, and such are the micro and
nanostructures, adsorption of particles has a significant
influence on their mechanical characteristics. Due to
adsorption on vibrating micro/nanostructures, the changes
in oscillation parameters occur as a consequence of both
the added (adsorbed) mass and the change in the stiffness
constant. The AD process can be undesirable in some
MEMS and NEMS resonant structures. Fluctuations of the
number of adsorbed particles due to the random nature of
the AD process cause the change of the resonator mass and,
consequently, the unwanted parasitic changes of its
resonant frequency (AD frequency noise). Hence the AD
process adversely affects the performances of the vibrating
MEMS and NEMS structures.
We analysed first the physical adsorption of particles
of one gas. Assuming that adsorption occurs in one layer
and that the AD process in thermodynamical equilibrium
can be described by the Langmuir’s isotherm, we derived
an exact expression for the spectral density of the AD
phase noise in micromechanical resonant structures. This
noise is generated by instantaneous differences in the rates
of adsorption and desorption of molecules to and from the
resonator surface, which cause mass fluctuations and
consequentially the resonator frequency fluctuations. We
used the analogy between AD processes in resonant
structures and generationrecombination processes in
semiconductors. We presented in [21] a stepbystep exact
derivation of the AD fluctuationsinduced phase noise, and
here will be given only the expression we obtained for the
spectral density of normalized frequency y (y=ǻf/f
0
)
) 1 /( ) / ( 4 /
2 2 2 2
0
2
0 2
2
0
2
W Z W ! ' m M N C f f S
a y
, (22)
where m
0
and f
0
are the mass and resonant frequency,
respectively, of the microcantilever without the adsorbed
particles, C
2
=1/<Ĳ>, <Ĳ>=W
0
–1
exp(–E
d
/RT) is the average
time the particle spends in the adsorbed state (Ĳ
0
is the
adatom period of thermal vibrations normal to the surface),
Ĳ=<Ĳ>/(1+bp) is the AD process time constant, which
determines the rate of reaching the equilibrium value of
adsorbed mass, E
d
is desorption energy, R is gas constant, p
is the pressure, b=Į
S
C
1
/(C
2
N
m
), where Į
S
is the adhesion
coefficient, C
1
=(2SM
a
k
B
T)
1/2
, N
m
is the maximum number
of adatoms per unit area, N
0
denotes the number of the
adsorbed particles in the stationary state, and M
a
is the
mass of a single particle. The single sideband spectral
density of phase fluctuations is S
Ɏ
(f)=0.5(f
0
2
/f
2
)S
y
(f), and
finally the expression for the AD fluctuationsinduced
phase noise is Į(f)=10logS
Ɏ
(f) [dBc/Hz].
Our numerical results show that the AD induced phase
noise is comparable to other sources of noise in
micromechanical resonant structures and that it prevails
when the resonator dimensions are very small. Analysis of
AD induced resonator frequency fluctuations and of the
corresponding phase noise shows that there is the strong
dependence between the resonator performance and the
environmental conditions.
Since the atmosphere around the resonator is a
mixture of gases in a majority of cases, we expanded our
analysis to address the case of the simultaneous adsorption
of particles of two or more different gases on the resonator
surface [22]. The exact expressions are derived for the
power spectral density of the fluctuations of the number of
adsorbed particles for each gas from the mixture, as well as
for the total adsorbed mass fluctuation, using the analytical
Langevin approach. As an illustration of the presented
theory, we determined the adsorbed mass fluctuations on
the surface of a sensor with a silicon micro or
nanocantilever in the atmosphere of three gases (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2 Adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of a mixture of
three gases, whose pressures are p
1
= p
2
=10
3
Pa, p
3
=100 Pa. The
cantilever dimensions are 200 Pm × 50 Pm × 2 Pm.
The theoretic models of an AD process are useful for
both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the AD noise
and also for estimation of its contribution to the total noise
in MEMS/NEMS sensors and oscillators. Based on these
models, it is possible to determine both the minimal
detectable signal and sensitivity of the micro/nanosensors,
and to perform the analysis of the influence of the adsorbed
particles number and mass fluctuations on performance of
various MEMS and NEMS devices. Thus the theory of AD
processes is useful for optimization of their parameters and
working conditions. It is concluded that the influence of
AD induced fluctuations on both oscillator and sensor
performance becomes particularly significant as the
dimensions of the structures scale down to the order of
hundreds of nanometers and lower.
The possibility of developing the method for
identification of the gases in mixtures based on the AD
noise spectral density can also be considered [22]. While
gas identification is possible in the case of a single gas
atmosphere, the number and the position of “knees” in the
noise spectrum (Figs. 2 and 3 a) could be misleading when
the number, type and amount of gases in the mixture are to
be determined (i.e. when identification of gases in a
mixture is considered). However, the analysis of the AD
! '
2
m
] / [ Hz kg
f [Hz]
gas 2
gas 3
mixture
gas 1
10
0
10
2
10
4
10
6
10
8
10
2
10
26
10
25
10
24
10
23
10
22
10
21
10
20
10
19
( ) ( )
1
1 ) / exp( 2 ,
÷
÷ + = T k T E
B
e e e e = = = (13)
At higher temperatures (k
B
T>>ʄe, E(e,T)~k
B
T, where
k
B
is the Boltzmann constant) spectral distribution of
thermal noise force is
( ) ( ) ( ) e e e TR k Z T k df F d F
B B TM N
4 } Re{ 4 /
2 2
,
= = = .(14)
Ɍhe spectral density of displacement is
( ) ( ) { } e e e Y T k S
B w
Re ) / 4 (
2
= , (15)
where Re{Y(e)} is the real part of the mechanical
admittance Y(e)=Z
1
(e). From (3) we obtain Y(e) and
using (15) the power spectral density of displacement is
( )   ( )
1 2
0
2
2 2
0 0
) ))( /( 4 (
÷
+ ÷ = Q mQ T k S
B w
ee e e e e . (16)
2. Frequency noise. The performance of the micro
cantilever dynamic sensors depends on various noise
generation mechanisms. These mechanisms include noise
in readout circuits (where the most important noise is the
noise arising from a cantilever deflection sensor) and
intrinsic frequency cantilever noise. The recent studies [18]
have shown that the spectral density of the deflection
sensor noise can be one order of magnitude lower than the
cantilever intrinsic noise for the frequency offset (ff
0
),
which is less than the practically used bandwidth B
(typically less than 1kHz). Due to this, we will analyse the
intrinsic cantilever noise dominated by two basic
independent noise generation mechanisms. The first
mechanism is related to the induced stress in the cantilever
due to spontaneous fluctuations of its temperature during
the heat exchange with the ambient. These stress
fluctuations generate the resonant frequency fluctuations
( ) ( )
2 4 2 2
2
2
0
2
,
/ ) 2 /(
N T i T N
T h L ī f f f A = A o (17)
where Į
T
is the coefficient of temperature expansion, f
0
is
the stressfree cantilever resonant frequency and f
i
is the
resonant frequency of the cantilever with intrinsic stress ı
i
.
The frequency f
i
equals Ȧ
i
/(2ʌ), where Ȧ
i
is given by the
expression (6), in which N=ı
i
Wh.
According to [15], the temperature fluctuations are
B R T k T
th th B n
1 2 2 2 2
) 1 ( 4
÷
+ = A t e , (18)
where R
th
is the thermal resistance, and Ĳ
th
is the thermal
time constant.
The second noise mechanism is related to the case
when the proposed sensor is the selfoscillating system
with positive feedback. It is well known that selfsustained
oscillators universally exhibit linewidth broadening of
varying degree in their output power spectra. This
linewidth broadening, often referred to as phase noise, is
caused by noise inherent to the oscillator and is a measure
of spectral purity of the oscillator signal. In a short form,
the physics of the phase nose is as follows. The trajectory
of the steadystate oscillation in the deflectionvelocity
state space is a closed curve due to periodicity and is called
the limit cycle. In the presence of noise, the fluctuations
would remain small in the radial (amplitude) direction due
to the tendency of the state to return to the limit cycle.
Fluctuation in the direction along the limit cycle does not
experience restoring force to return the phase to its original
value. That means that, in the presence of noise, the state
point experienced Brownian motion, or the phase
undergoes diffusion process, with the diffusion constant
D
ĳ
. To determine the spectral density of the phase noise, it
is necessary to solve the Langevin or the corresponding
FockerPlanck equation.
Utilizing the definition of phase noise for given
frequency offset ǻȦ=2ʌ(ff
0
) and the mentioned solution of
the stochastic equation, we obtain for the phase noise [19]
1 2 2
) ) (( 2 ) (
÷
+ A = A +
m m
e e D D (19)
The diffusion constant is given by the expression
D
ĳ
=k
B
Te
0
/(A
0
2
k
eff
Q
eff
), where k
eff
is the effective stiffness
constant, A
0
is the oscillation amplitude and Q
eff
is not a
conventional quality factor. Q
eff
, defined above, is a direct
measure of the amount of noise in the oscillator as it
includes every noise source in the detector system. If a
noise source has the thermal origin, for example a thermal
vibration of the cantilever which is the most dominant
noise source in our case, Q
eff
becomes a conventional
quality factor Q.
The relation between the spectral densities of the
frequency and phase noise is <ǻȦ
N
2
>=Ȍ(ǻȦ)(ǻȦ)
2
. After
integration within the bandwidth B, the power spectral
density of the frequency noise is obtained in the form
B x arctg x C f
B N
)) ( (
2
,
÷ = A (20)
where C=D
ĳ
2
/(2t
3
B) and x=tB/D
ĳ
.
It is interesting to note that for large x (x>>1), i.e. for
ǻȦ>>D
ĳ
, the well known T.R. Albrecht et al. expression
[20] for the TM frequency noise
) 2 /(
2
0 0
2
,
kQA TB k f f
B B N
t = A (21)
can be obtained from (20). This expression is universally
used for the frequency noise analysis for the AFM.
Since the two dominant intrinsic noise generation
mechanisms are mutually independent, the power spectral
density of the total frequency noise equals the sum of the
components <Af
N,T
2
> and <Af
N,B
2
>.
noise spectrum in gas sensors can be used in order to
distinguish between different gas mixtures.
The resulting adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of
the mixture can be lower than in the case of the single gas
at the same pressure (Fig. 2).
Fig. 3b shows the range of both pressure of gas 1 and
the frequency where a reduction of fluctuations exists (the
pressure of the second gas is assumed to be constant). In
the meshed part the adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case
of a gas mixture decrease by an order of magnitude
compared to the case of singlegas adsorption, while the
dark shaded part denotes the area of p
1
and f where the
reduction is of the lower order.
The diagrams in Figs. 3 a and b enable determination
of the amount of additional gas, which should be added to
the present gas in order to achieve the reduction of the
adsorbed mass fluctuations. This is useful for optimization
of the working conditions of the MEMS/NEMS oscillators,
by choosing the mixture of the surrounding gases which
enables minimization of the AD and total phase and
frequency noise and better accuracy of oscillator frequency.
Fig. 3. (a) The power spectral density of the adsorbed mass
fluctuations for the twogas mixture, assuming a constant pressure
of gas 2 (p
2
=10
3
Pa). (b) The range of both pressure of gas 1 and
the frequency where the adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of
a gas mixture are lower than in the case of singlegas adsorption.
In the available literature only a little amount of data
can be found about the AD process parameters on the
surface of micro/nanostructures, that is useful for
quantitative determination of the influence of the AD
process on both the response and the ultimate performances
of MEMS/NEMS sensors and oscillators. In the methods
described in the literature, the data about the AD process
dynamics are obtained by measuring the resonant
frequency change in time. Such methods are applicable
only if the adsorption process is slow in comparison with
the response rate of the oscillator itself. In contrast to these,
the method for AD process parameter determination based
on time domain analysis of experimentally obtained
oscillator transient response in the presence of adsorption
[23] is also applicable to very fast processes. The method
originated from the analysis of the solutions of a
differential equation for the first oscillation mode Eq. (3).
The mass of the oscillator changes over time due to the AD
process (m(t)=m
0
+ǻm
0
(1exp(t/W)), ǻm
0
is the adsorbed
mass in steady state). It is shown that the solution of this
equation, obtained using an iterative method, contains
information about AD process kinetics, and therefore it can
be used for determination of the AD process parameters.
The experimentally obtained oscillator time response,
w
exp
(t), can be fitted with the function C·exp((tt
s
)/Ĳ
f,exp
) for
t>t
s
(t
s
is the moment when AD process starts), to obtain
the time constant Ĳ
f,exp
, which determines the establishment
rate of the steady state in the presence of AD process.
If Ĳ
f,exp
>>Ĳ
o
(Ĳ
o
=2Q/Z
0
is the oscillator time constant),
the AD process time constant determines the response
envelope, and equals the constant obtained by fitting
(Ĳ§Ĳ
f,exp
). However, if Ĳ
f,exp
>>Ĳ
o
is not valid, the time
constant determining the AD process kinetics can be
obtained based on Fig. 4. We created a computer
simulation which performs both the curve fitting of the
function w(t) (obtained by solving motion equation) and
determination of Ĳ
f,sim
, for various given values of Ĳ, and for
a constant value of Ĳ
o
. When Ĳ and Ĳ
o
are of the same order
of magnitude, and also when Ĳ is one order of magnitude
lower, Ĳ can be determined from the diagram, as the value
which corresponds to the experimentally obtained Ĳ
f,exp
. The
smaller cantilevers (higher resonant frequency, lower Ĳ
o
)
enable characterization of fast AD process kinetics (with
time constant as low as 10
5
s) by the described method.
Fig. 4. Time constant Ĳ
f,sim
(obtained by computer simulation) as a
function of the AD time constant Ĳ, for three different values of Ĳ
o
.
As a part of our analysis of noise in ɆEMS/NEMS
devices, we also considered the thermomechanical (TM)
noise in the presence of an AD process [24]. The method
we utilized is based on the Onsager's regression hypothesis
[25], which enables determination of the autocorrelation
function of the deflection, using a deterministic response
w(t), as k
B
Tw(t)/F, where F is the applied perturbation. The
cosine Fourier transform of the autocorrelation function
yields the TM noise spectrum <w
2
(Ȧ)> which is the
experimentally relevant quantity. It is shown that the AD
process time constant can be determined by analysis of the
oscillator response in the time domain, and the same can
also be done based on the known power spectrum of the
TM noise (Fig. 5). This theory allows the investigation of
gas adsorptiondesorption kinetics using nanoscale
oscillating structures. Determination of the AD process
time constant is useful for research of both AD and
catalytic processes in general, for estimation of the AD and
total noise in MEMS/NEMS sensors and oscillators, and
also for development of the methods for characterization
and, possibly, recognition of the adsorbate.
a)
t [ms]
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
'
x
(
t
)
[
n
m
]
0
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
W = 10
4
s
10
3
s
10
2
s
b)
x
2
(
Z
)
!
>
n
m
2
/
H
z
@
742 742.5 743 743.5 744 744.5 745
u10
5
Z >kHz@
3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0
u10
5
m0+'m0
m0
W = 10
4
s
10
3
s
10
2
s
Fig. 5. ɚ) The difference in response; b) The TM noise in a nano
oscillator with AD induced variable mass and of a constant mass
oscillator, for three AD processes with different time constants, Ĳ.
C. MEMS silicon oscillators
An electronic frequency reference or a clock in a
digital system is based on an oscillator, which is composed
of a resonant tank element and a sustaining circuit which
drives the resonant element. The characteristics of the
resonant element, the resonant frequency, quality factor,
temperature sensitivity etc., largely determine the
characteristics of the oscillator output. Difference between
reference or clock technologies is the resonator. The most
important requirement for the frequency reference is that
the frequency of the output signal should be constant over
time. According to [11] the 21
st
century begins the era
when quartz oscillators will be abandoned, for two reasons:
i) Miniaturisation. A modern microprocessor chip may
have 10 million transistors. To operate, it requires a single
quartz frequency reference that is half of size of the entire
chip! ii) Silicon compatibility. Devices that can be
manufactured with silicon technology are promoted
because they can be manufactured cheaply using the
existing silicon batch fabrication capacity, and digital
circuitry can be integrated into them directly. MEMS
resonators have been a topic of research for almost 40
years. Significant advances have occurred in the past 20
years, and commercialization efforts begun in earnest in the
last 5 years. The reason for this was a stability problem.
The stability of the signal is the primary performance
characteristic of a frequency reference. Stability can be
classified into three types based on the time period over
which the signal is measured: longterm or “aging” (over
hours, days or months), medium term or “stability” (over
second to hours), and short term or “noise” (second or
less). Usually stability is given in terms of normalized
deviation from target value and measure is the partper
million (ppm). A silicon MEMS resonator suitable for high
frequency reference applications should have the frequency
stability approaching 0.1 ppm. Recently fabricated MEMS
oscillator [11] with episeal process satisfied this frequency
stability conditions. At the same time it had the power
consumption less than 20mW and it occupied 0.3 mm
3
.
During the past 40 years, multiple fabrication
processes have been mastered that enabled the above
mentioned results to be achieved. Among the most
important processes are encapsulation of the resonant
beam, highly accurate positioning of excitation electrodes
and, finally, ovenization for keeping the resonator at the
exact temperature. As we mentioned earlier, AD processes
can have a significant influence on the shortterm stability
through the AD noise. As discussed earlier, the resonant
frequency is proportional to the square root of the inverse
of its mass. The mass of the resonator is of the order of 100
picograms. So physical contamination, equivalent to a
single atomic layer of additional mass deposition, can
change the frequency by hundreds or thousands of ppm.
D. Nanomechanical computers
Recenty, Robert H. Blick et al. [13] proposed a fully
mechanical computer (NMC) based on nanoelectro
mechanical elements. The main motivation behind
constructing such a computer is threefold: (i) mechanical
elements are more robust to electromagnetic shocks than
current dynamic random access memory based purely on
complementary metaloxide semiconductor technology
(CMOS), (ii) dissipated power can be an order of
magnitude below CMOS and, (iii) the operating
temperature of such an NMC can be an order of magnitude
above that of conventional CMOS.
Without going into details of NMC design, it is
important to emphasize here that its fundamental element is
a nanoelectromechanical single electron transistor (NEM
SET). In this type of SET [13] the island is movable and it
is situated on the top of a cantilever which can be excited
by an AC sourcedrain voltage. Recent measurements have
shown that selfexcitation can be exploited to generate
mechanical oscillation without any AC excitation. This
means that DC voltage is sufficient to operate the NMC.
Besides its practical value, research of NEMSET is of
great importance for fundamental sciences, since it
incorporates both the field of single electron devices and
the vibrating nanostructures whose dimensions are such
that they can represent the ideal models for demonstration
of the quantum mechanics laws.
III. CONCLUSION
Vibrating micro and nanostructures are finding an
everincreasing number of applications in a multitude of
fields: as basic building blocks of the new generation of
sensors with sensitivity of the order of single molecules, as
elements of the new kind of MEMS oscillators with low
power consumption and fabrication process compatible
with CMOS, as central components of NEMSETs etc.
In this paper we presented some of the fundamental
theories upon which the operation of these components is
based. The emphasize was on the fact that in case of
miniature vibrating structures the effects pertinent to their
dimensions, such as Brownian motion, AD processes,
mass, temperature and frequency fluctuations etc. become
significant. The author hopes that the results of this work
can be utilized for proper design and optimization of
various vibrating micro and nanocomponents.
As it can be expected in such a propulsive field,
several interesting phenomena, such as the quantum effects
in nanovibrating structures, vibrating structures with
nanotubes, multilayer adsorption processes on nano
structures etc. had to remain out of scope of this paper.
Anyway, research in this field is expected to enable both
better understanding of the nature itself and wise utilization
of its resources.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The author wishes to thank Ms. I. Jokiü, Mr. M.
Frantloviü and Dr K. Raduloviü for their collaboration and
to the Serbian Ministry of Science for their support.
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As a first example. A is the mass per unit length of the resonator beam.e. Consequently.
(dwn t / dt ) k n wn t
F t (3)
where the modal parameters are: the effective mass mn. where is the Poisson ratio of the beam material. 1 The first three oscillating modes for a cantilever clamped at one end (left) and at both ends (right). (1).
(4)
where =3NL/(Eh2W). 1 the corresponding oscillating modes are shown for a SiO2 cantilever clamped at both ends. the stiffness constant. 1. The dissipation of the mechanical vibration energy of a microbeam. the exact expression for the nth mode resonant frequency.1 kHz
f2=673. The beam deflection in an arbitrary point x0 (wn(t)= n(x0)qn(t)). we will use a miniature cantilever of the rectangular crosssection A=W·h and the length L. By substituting the Eq. In micromechanical devices. and thus it is necessary to use E/(1. t x2
A
2
w x. (1) and also of the particular mode shape functions obtained for the mechanical resonator with the corresponding boundary conditions. and the time dependent classical oscillator equation for the modal function qn(t). As an illustrative example. N. which determines the Qfactor. can occur due to internal structural damping. and qn(t) is the time dependent amplitude of motion for mode n. On the left side of the Fig.t) is the flexural deflection. The principle of operation of MEMS/NEMS sensors with vibrating sensing element is based on this influence. A change in any of the coefficients that stand by the spatial or time derivatives in Eqs. t
qn t
x
(2)
Here n(x) is the mode shape function based on the coordinate along the beam.8 kHz
Amplitude [a. and the result can be expressed as a sum of the motion in each mode n. corresponding to the mode n.(6)
. shown in Fig. is
fn
2 (1 / 3 )(h / L2 ) E / z n 1 2 / zn .5 (1
n
NL2 /( EWh 3 )) 0. EI is the flexural stiffness. we obtain the equation for the mode shape function. i.2) instead of E in Eq. is the damping coefficient and F is a driving force per unit length. The solutions of Eq. (1) and (3) cause changes of the oscillation amplitude. can be obtained from
m n (d 2 wn (t ) / dt 2 )
n
SiO2 SiO2/Ni 10k 100k 1MHz 1MHz
Fig.
(5)
while an approximate expression for
n
fn is [24]
(
2 n
h /( 12 L2 ))( E / ) 0. This example is also important because the following theory can be utilized for determination of both the influence of thermomechanical stress on the resonant frequency and the MEMS oscillator resonant frequency fluctuations due to temperature fluctuations.3 kHz
Here. t t2
w x.4 kHz f0=245. we will consider the influence of the axial force. (1).5 . t x4
N
2
w x. the Qfactor Qn. N is the axial force. very often the beam width is large. the support loss and the viscous losses in the surrounding fluid. This is the principle of operation of vibrating pressure sensors. (2).t) of the beam can be split into time and position dependent components. ensuring that the solution for the mode shape functions satisfies the boundary conditions. t
(1)
f0=38. 15]
EI
4
L W h
w x. the resonant frequency n. the mechanical properties of the beam structures can be analytically described by the EulerBernoulli theory [14.2 kHz
f1=676. and zn are solutions of the equation
tg z 1 / z 2 tgh z 1
n=2
/ z2 . These parameters are functions of the parameters from Eq. the displacement w(x.theory. w(x. the damping factor n=mn n/Qn. t t
F x. phase or resonant frequency of the beam structure. applied along a beam clamped at both ends. (1) are usually obtained by using the method of separation of variables [15]. and kn= n2mn. in Eq. W 5h.
n
f1=240.u]
f2=1327 kHz
SiO2 bridge
w x. In the case of a doubleclamped beam. For small amplitudes. 1 the first three modes are shown for the cases of a homogenous (SiO2) and a bimaterial (SiO2/Ni) cantilever clamped at one end. On the right side of Fig.
These stochastic vibrations basically form thermomechanical (TM) noise. 2=0.
(8)
where m is the oscillator effective mass.730. 0 is the resonant frequency. The total external force F on the structure in the fluid can be defined as a contribution of both the drive force F0 and fluidic drag. based on eq.8 Re
1)
Here the Reynolds number Re= fW2/(4 ) describes the ratio of inertia to friction terms. Hence. and E( . 1/2 and QF= Fm(1+ f)/( + f). The mathematical formulation of this socalled fluctuationdissipation theorem has the form
F2 (2 / ) R E . In the following text the basic mechanisms that generate the main noises in MEMS and NEMS vibrating structures are analysed. the surrounding fluid causes two effects: inertial and dissipative. respectively.065)
1/ 2
(10) (11)
(W / 2)(2. respectively. Namely. viscous losses in fluids are typically two to three orders of magnitude greater than other losses. obtained in [16] by curve fitting of the numerical results for the case (i)
(12)
where R( ) is the real part of the impedance Z( )=F/v. Without this generator of noise force. Using (7). which would mean that the system is at zero temperature. and f and mf are the parameters modelling the dissipative and inertial effects of the fluid. Fluctuation phenomena Fluctuations of parameters of miniature MEMS and NEMS vibration structures increase as their physical dimensions decrease [15]. Hence. and = 0m/Q is the damping factor of the corresponding mode. as N= A. the system damping will stop any oscillations. 16]. the frequency change is proportional to the stress and the squared ratio of the length and thickness of the beam. As an illustration. At the microscale. fluidic drag force can be expressed as
Ff
f
mf
f
f f
(W / 2)(4. 2=7. This general theorem determines the relation between the “impedance” and the fluctuations of the “generalized force”. to avoid breaking the second law of thermodynamics. Thermomechanical noise.T d
v
mf v/ t
(7)
where v=dw/dt is the velocity. 1=0. Thus the sensitivity of a BioNEMS sensor is significantly reduced. for example. the thermomechanical noise (fluctuation of the deflection) increases for several orders of magnitude when the cantilever is brought from vacuum into a liquid. 1. (3). So. B. In oscillating systems.4 Re
2
2/3
0.T) is the oscillator's mean energy at a temperature T with a frequency
. then the mechanical oscillator must encompass some level of random movement.853. (ii) those that deal with single microbeam vibrating close to a surface. the model of a damped harmonic oscillator must be supplemented by a generator of noise force with a sufficient amplitude to keep the level of stochastic vibrations dictated by the system temperature. The issues pertinent to a vibrating microbeam in a fluid can be broadly divided into three parts: (i) those that deal with a single microbeam vibrating in fluid.145. . so that F=F0Ff. an approximate solution will be given for incompressible fluids. The surrounding fluid also affects the natural frequencies of the microbeam due to socalled added mass of the surrounding fluid to the microbeam. and f and are the fluid density and viscosity. These fluctuations determine both the ultimate performances of the sensors and the minimal power required for transition between the states 0 and 1 in digital systems. This would contradict the assumed condition of thermal equilibrium at a temperature different from zero.295. For a linear dissipative system the generalized form of the Nyquist theorem was given by Callen and Welton in 1951 17 .Numeric calculations show that for the first and the second mode 1=4. the amplitude of these fluctuations is mostly determined by the intensity of the dissipation processes. the mode equation of motion in the complex domain is
m
2 0 2
i
/mw
F0
. In vacuum F=F0. If the temperature around our mechanical oscillator is finite and if the system is in thermodynamic equilibrium. For low stress . and (iii) those that address the hydrodynamic coupling between microbeams in fluids or microbeams bounded by a confined liquid [9]. The magnitude of these random vibrations depends on the damping level in the oscillator. It is already said in the introduction that at this time a great interest exists for development of highly sensitive biological sensors (for detection of certain kinds of cells in human physiological liquids and early diagnostics of diseases) [3]. with the objective to achieve the optimal performance of the devices based on such structures. F= 0(1+ f) Determination of the coefficients mf and f requires solving of the complex NavierStokes equations for a fluid that surrounds the oscillating cantilevers [6. Therefore a short introduction will be given to the theory of oscillations of microcantilevers in liquids. In interaction with an oscillating structure. the equation of motion can be reorganized for fluid as [9]
mF
2 F 2
i
F
/ mF w
F0
(9)
where the equivalent parameters are mF=m+mf=m(1+ f). The axial force along the beam of homogenous crosssection can be represented by the mechanical stress.
T 2 exp( / k BT ) 1
1
(13)
2 f N . It is interesting to note that for large x (x>>1). (16) 0 frequency offset =2 (ff0) and the mentioned solution of the stochastic equation. is a direct cantilever intrinsic noise for the frequency offset (ff0).oscillators universally exhibit linewidth broadening of varying degree in their output power spectra.B 2 f 0 k B TB /(2 kQA0 )
4k B T Rth (1
2
2
2 th
) B.
.e. According to [15]. the well known T.B2>. Albrecht et al. That means that. These mechanisms include noise in readout circuits (where the most important noise is the The diffusion constant is given by the expression noise arising from a cantilever deflection sensor) and D =kBT 0/(A02keffQeff). It is well known that selfsustained
can be obtained from (20). E( . the power spectral fluctuations generate the resonant frequency fluctuations density of the frequency noise is obtained in the form
E .R. The performance of the microcantilever dynamic sensors depends on various noise ( ) 2 D (( ) 2 D 2 ) 1 (19) generation mechanisms. This linewidth broadening. the power spectral density of the total frequency noise equals the sum of the components < fN. i. or the phase where Re Y( is the real part of the mechanical undergoes diffusion process. In a short form. the temperature fluctuations are
T
2 n
where C=D 2/(2 3B) and x= B/D . where caused by noise inherent to the oscillator and is a measure kB is the Boltzmann constant) spectral distribution of of spectral purity of the oscillator signal. The trajectory of the steadystate oscillation in the deflectionvelocity 2 FN .T2> and < fN. The first noise source in our case. f0 is the stressfree cantilever resonant frequency and fi is the resonant frequency of the cantilever with intrinsic stress i. After integration within the bandwidth B.B
C ( x arctg ( x)) B
(20)
where T is the coefficient of temperature expansion. These stress frequency and phase noise is < N >= ( )( ) . Fluctuation in the direction along the limit cycle does not Sw (4k B T / 2 ) Re Y . Qeff. the fluctuations would remain small in the radial (amplitude) direction due he spectral density of displacement is to the tendency of the state to return to the limit cycle. we obtain for the phase noise [19] 2. Since the two dominant intrinsic noise generation mechanisms are mutually independent. The frequency fi equals i/(2 ).T) kBT. the state point experienced Brownian motion. In the presence of noise. for >>D . From (3) we obtain Y( using (15) the power spectral density of displacement is is necessary to solve the Langevin or the corresponding FockerPlanck equation. The recent studies [18] have shown that the spectral density of the deflection constant. (15) experience restoring force to return the phase to its original value. for example a thermal intrinsic cantilever noise dominated by two basic vibration of the cantilever which is the most dominant independent noise generation mechanisms. we will analyse the noise source has the thermal origin. The relation between the spectral densities of the due to spontaneous fluctuations of its temperature during 2 2 the heat exchange with the ambient. A0 is the oscillation amplitude and Qeff is not a sensor noise can be one order of magnitude lower than the conventional quality factor. defined above.TM d F 2 / df 4k BT Re{Z } 4k BTR . in which N= iWh. This expression is universally used for the frequency noise analysis for the AFM. often referred to as phase noise. and th is the thermal time constant. 2 2 2 2 Utilizing the definition of phase noise for given Sw (4k B T 0 /( mQ))( 0 Q ) 1 . it admittance Y( =Z1( . Frequency noise. Due to this. To determine the spectral density of the phase noise. thermal noise force is the physics of the phase nose is as follows. where keff is the effective stiffness intrinsic frequency cantilever noise. The second noise mechanism is related to the case when the proposed sensor is the selfoscillating system with positive feedback. where i is given by the expression (6).T
f 02 /( 2 f i )
2
2 T
2
L/h
4
2 TN
(17)
2 fN . in the presence of noise. is At higher temperatures (kBT . Qeff becomes a conventional mechanism is related to the induced stress in the cantilever quality factor Q. measure of the amount of noise in the oscillator as it which is less than the practically used bandwidth B includes every noise source in the detector system. with the diffusion constant and D .(14) state space is a closed curve due to periodicity and is called the limit cycle. If a (typically less than 1kHz). expression [20] for the TM frequency noise
2 f N .
1
(18)
(21)
where Rth is the thermal resistance.
The single sideband spectral density of phase fluctuations is S (f)=0. the number and the position of “knees” in the noise spectrum (Figs. AD processes. C1=(2 MakBT)1/2. where S is the adhesion coefficient. using the analytical Langevin approach. when identification of gases in a mixture is considered). we expanded our analysis to address the case of the simultaneous adsorption of particles of two or more different gases on the resonator surface [22]. Hence the AD process adversely affects the performances of the vibrating MEMS and NEMS structures. we derived an exact expression for the spectral density of the AD phase noise in micromechanical resonant structures. which determines the rate of reaching the equilibrium value of adsorbed mass. 2). type and amount of gases in the mixture are to be determined (i.
/ f 02
2 2 4C 2 N 0 ( M a / m0 )
2
/(1
2
2
) . R is gas constant. However. We used the analogy between AD processes in resonant structures and generationrecombination processes in semiconductors. b= SC1/(C2Nm). 2 Adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of a mixture of three gases. we determined the adsorbed mass fluctuations on the surface of a sensor with a silicon micro. the analysis of the AD
. and here will be given only the expression we obtained for the spectral density of normalized frequency y (y= f/f0)
Sy f
2
dependence between the resonator performance and the environmental conditions. which cause mass fluctuations and consequentially the resonator frequency fluctuations. In the case of structures of small dimensions and mass. C2=1/< >. N0 denotes the number of the adsorbed particles in the stationary state. =< >/(1+bp) is the AD process time constant. p is the pressure. the unwanted parasitic changes of its resonant frequency (AD frequency noise). While gas identification is possible in the case of a single gas atmosphere.and nanostructures. consequently.e. We analysed first the physical adsorption of particles of one gas. and finally the expression for the AD fluctuationsinduced phase noise is (f)=10logS (f) [dBc/Hz].3. The exact expressions are derived for the power spectral density of the fluctuations of the number of adsorbed particles for each gas from the mixture. it is possible to determine both the minimal detectable signal and sensitivity of the micro/nanosensors. respectively. As an illustration of the presented theory. It is concluded that the influence of AD induced fluctuations on both oscillator and sensor performance becomes particularly significant as the dimensions of the structures scale down to the order of hundreds of nanometers and lower. (22)
where m0 and f0 are the mass and resonant frequency.5(f02/f2)Sy(f). We presented in [21] a stepbystep exact derivation of the AD fluctuationsinduced phase noise. and such are the micro.or nanocantilever in the atmosphere of three gases (Fig. Since the atmosphere around the resonator is a mixture of gases in a majority of cases. Due to adsorption on vibrating micro/nanostructures. 2 and 3 a) could be misleading when the number. of the microcantilever without the adsorbed particles. The AD process can be undesirable in some MEMS and NEMS resonant structures. Analysis of AD induced resonator frequency fluctuations and of the corresponding phase noise shows that there is the strong
The theoretic models of an AD process are useful for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the AD noise and also for estimation of its contribution to the total noise in MEMS/NEMS sensors and oscillators. Nm is the maximum number of adatoms per unit area. and Ma is the mass of a single particle. The possibility of developing the method for identification of the gases in mixtures based on the AD noise spectral density can also be considered [22]. and to perform the analysis of the influence of the adsorbed particles number and mass fluctuations on performance of various MEMS and NEMS devices. This noise is generated by instantaneous differences in the rates of adsorption and desorption of molecules to and from the resonator surface. Thus the theory of AD processes is useful for optimization of their parameters and working conditions. Ed is desorption energy. Fluctuations of the number of adsorbed particles due to the random nature of the AD process cause the change of the resonator mass and. Our numerical results show that the AD induced phase noise is comparable to other sources of noise in micromechanical resonant structures and that it prevails when the resonator dimensions are very small.
10 10
19 20
gas 1 gas 2 gas 3
m
2
10 10 10 10 10 10
21
mixture
[kg / Hz ]
22
23
24
25
26
10
2
10
0
10
2
10
4
10
6
10
8
f [Hz]
Fig. Assuming that adsorption occurs in one layer and that the AD process in thermodynamical equilibrium can be described by the Langmuir’s isotherm. The cantilever dimensions are 200 m × 50 m × 2 m. < >= 0–1exp(–Ed/RT) is the average time the particle spends in the adsorbed state ( 0 is the adatom period of thermal vibrations normal to the surface). the changes in oscillation parameters occur as a consequence of both the added (adsorbed) mass and the change in the stiffness constant. p3=100 Pa. Based on these models. as well as for the total adsorbed mass fluctuation. whose pressures are p1= p2=103 Pa. adsorption of particles has a significant influence on their mechanical characteristics.
exp.
Fig. as the value which corresponds to the experimentally obtained f. and therefore it can be used for determination of the AD process parameters. The method originated from the analysis of the solutions of a differential equation for the first oscillation mode Eq. The method we utilized is based on the Onsager's regression hypothesis [25]. wexp(t).
As a part of our analysis of noise in EMS/NEMS devices.
dynamics are obtained by measuring the resonant frequency change in time. The diagrams in Figs. while the dark shaded part denotes the area of p1 and f where the reduction is of the lower order. When and o are of the same order of magnitude. Fig.exp>> o ( o=2Q/ 0 is the oscillator time constant). the AD process time constant determines the response envelope. This is useful for optimization of the working conditions of the MEMS/NEMS oscillators. The mass of the oscillator changes over time due to the AD process (m(t)=m0+ m0(1exp(t/ )). that is useful for quantitative determination of the influence of the AD process on both the response and the ultimate performances of MEMS/NEMS sensors and oscillators. Time constant f. 3 a and b enable determination of the amount of additional gas. (3). the data about the AD process
Fig. 4. which enables determination of the autocorrelation
. If f. (a) The power spectral density of the adsorbed mass fluctuations for the twogas mixture. 3b shows the range of both pressure of gas 1 and the frequency where a reduction of fluctuations exists (the pressure of the second gas is assumed to be constant).exp). Such methods are applicable only if the adsorption process is slow in comparison with the response rate of the oscillator itself. (b) The range of both pressure of gas 1 and the frequency where the adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of a gas mixture are lower than in the case of singlegas adsorption. 2). m0 is the adsorbed mass in steady state). if f.exp) for t>ts (ts is the moment when AD process starts). The experimentally obtained oscillator time response. to obtain the time constant f. can be fitted with the function C·exp((tts)/ f. In the meshed part the adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of a gas mixture decrease by an order of magnitude compared to the case of singlegas adsorption. and also when is one order of magnitude lower. lower o) enable characterization of fast AD process kinetics (with time constant as low as 105s) by the described method. The smaller cantilevers (higher resonant frequency. assuming a constant pressure of gas 2 (p2=103 Pa).exp>> o is not valid. for three different values of o.sim (obtained by computer simulation) as a function of the AD time constant . can be determined from the diagram. obtained using an iterative method. In contrast to these. We created a computer simulation which performs both the curve fitting of the function w(t) (obtained by solving motion equation) and determination of f.
In the available literature only a little amount of data can be found about the AD process parameters on the surface of micro/nanostructures. by choosing the mixture of the surrounding gases which enables minimization of the AD and total phase and frequency noise and better accuracy of oscillator frequency. the method for AD process parameter determination based on time domain analysis of experimentally obtained oscillator transient response in the presence of adsorption [23] is also applicable to very fast processes. 4. 3. for various given values of . contains information about AD process kinetics. In the methods described in the literature. It is shown that the solution of this equation. we also considered the thermomechanical (TM) noise in the presence of an AD process [24]. However. The resulting adsorbed mass fluctuations in the case of the mixture can be lower than in the case of the single gas at the same pressure (Fig.exp.noise spectrum in gas sensors can be used in order to distinguish between different gas mixtures. which determines the establishment rate of the steady state in the presence of AD process. and equals the constant obtained by fitting ( f. and for a constant value of o. the time constant determining the AD process kinetics can be obtained based on Fig. which should be added to the present gas in order to achieve the reduction of the adsorbed mass fluctuations.sim.
Significant advances have occurred in the past 20 years.5 3. As discussed earlier. Among the most important processes are encapsulation of the resonant beam. where F is the applied perturbation. Determination of the AD process time constant is useful for research of both AD and catalytic processes in general. The main motivation behind constructing such a computer is threefold: (i) mechanical elements are more robust to electromagnetic shocks than current dynamic random access memory based purely on complementary metaloxide semiconductor technology (CMOS). A silicon MEMS resonator suitable for high frequency reference applications should have the frequency stability approaching 0. The characteristics of the resonant element.3 mm3.3 0. which is composed of a resonant tank element and a sustaining circuit which drives the resonant element. D. [13] proposed a fully mechanical computer (NMC) based on nanoelectromechanical elements. AD processes can have a significant influence on the shortterm stability through the AD noise. equivalent to a single atomic layer of additional mass deposition.5
b)
kHz
745 105
Fig. multiple fabrication processes have been mastered that enabled the above mentioned results to be achieved.function of the deflection. it is important to emphasize here that its fundamental element is a nanoelectromechanical single electron transistor (NEM
C. for estimation of the AD and total noise in MEMS/NEMS sensors and oscillators. Usually stability is given in terms of normalized deviation from target value and measure is the partpermillion (ppm). This theory allows the investigation of gas adsorptiondesorption kinetics using nanoscale oscillating structures. 5.4 0. MEMS silicon oscillators An electronic frequency reference or a clock in a digital system is based on an oscillator. MEMS resonators have been a topic of research for almost 40 years. ) The difference in response. finally. and commercialization efforts begun in earnest in the last 5 years. Devices that can be manufactured with silicon technology are promoted because they can be manufactured cheaply using the existing silicon batch fabrication capacity.5
743
743. So physical contamination. Blick et al.1 0 0. As we mentioned earlier. According to [11] the 21st century begins the era when quartz oscillators will be abandoned. for two reasons:
x2( )
x(t) [nm]
.5
744
744. and short term or “noise” (second or less). The mass of the resonator is of the order of 100 picograms. the resonant frequency is proportional to the square root of the inverse of its mass. highly accurate positioning of excitation electrodes and.0 0.5 0 742
= 104s 103s 10 s
2
m0+ m0 m0
742. .0
t [ms]
10
12
14
16
18
20
nm2/Hz
2.. for three AD processes with different time constants.
0. Nanomechanical computers Recenty. using a deterministic response w(t). At the same time it had the power consumption less than 20mW and it occupied 0.5 0. largely determine the characteristics of the oscillator output. medium term or “stability” (over second to hours). (ii) dissipated power can be an order of magnitude below CMOS and. A modern microprocessor chip may have 10 million transistors. ovenization for keeping the resonator at the exact temperature. quality factor. as kBTw(t)/F. and the same can also be done based on the known power spectrum of the TM noise (Fig.0 1. and also for development of the methods for characterization and.5 2.4 0. To operate. The cosine Fourier transform of the autocorrelation function yields the TM noise spectrum <w2( )> which is the experimentally relevant quantity. It is shown that the AD process time constant can be determined by analysis of the oscillator response in the time domain. (iii) the operating temperature of such an NMC can be an order of magnitude above that of conventional CMOS.5 0. The reason for this was a stability problem. possibly. b) The TM noise in a nanooscillator with AD induced variable mass and of a constant mass oscillator. recognition of the adsorbate. and digital circuitry can be integrated into them directly. During the past 40 years.2 0.5 1. can change the frequency by hundreds or thousands of ppm. days or months). Stability can be classified into three types based on the time period over which the signal is measured: longterm or “aging” (over hours.
i) Miniaturisation. the resonant frequency. Difference between reference or clock technologies is the resonator. 5).1 0
105
2
4
6
8
a)
3. Robert H. Recently fabricated MEMS oscillator [11] with episeal process satisfied this frequency stability conditions. The stability of the signal is the primary performance characteristic of a frequency reference. it requires a single quartz frequency reference that is half of size of the entire chip! ii) Silicon compatibility. temperature sensitivity etc.3 0. Without going into details of NMC design.2
= 104 s 103 s 102 s
0.1 ppm. The most important requirement for the frequency reference is that the frequency of the output signal should be constant over time.
and nanostructures are finding an everincreasing number of applications in a multitude of fields: as basic building blocks of the new generation of sensors with sensitivity of the order of single molecules. J. [25] N. I. A. Frantlovi . and P. pp. 1992. Ham et al. Purdue University.chibau. Lett. Redux?". "Mechanism of noise sources in microelectromechanical systems".. A. Paul. 668673. [5] K.028. [3] J. Stanford Univ. vol. 12381255. E. As it can be expected in such a propulsive field. [2] N. pp. Welton. "Thermomechanical noise of nanooscillators with timedependent mass". Boston University. pp. [22] Z.
III. Randjelovi . vol. Cross. “BioNEMS : Nanomechanical Systems for SingleMolecule Biophysics”. pp.. Arlett et al. Goeders et al. Basak. Djuric. "Analysis of transient adsorption processes using micro/nanocantilever oscillators". [10] Z. Jakši . "Frequency response of cantilever beams immersed in viscous fluids with applications to atomic force microscope". G. and I. 2004.D. vol. 127. [8] S... C..Appl... Tilmans et al. Waggoner. vol. Joki . 2002. pp. H. A. Rev. Frantlovi and Dr K. "Development of low noise cantilever deflexion sensor for multienvironment frequencymodulation atomic force microscopy". Appl. Anyway. and D. 522544. "Cantilever transducers as a platform for chemical and biological sensors".. "Frequency response of cantilever beams immersed in viscous fluids with application to the atomic force microscope". 76. pp. vol. Instrum. 83. New J. 2007. [7] C.SET). (2007). vol. "A phase noise in oscillators". and H. pp. Lab on Chip. [15] Z.mee. 2000. Phys. 5157. 2007. vol. B. Karabacak. 7. and R. Radulovi for their collaboration and to the Serbian Ministry of Science for their support. research in this field is expected to enable both better understanding of the nature itself and wise utilization of its resources. M. Joki . vol. Sens. multilayer adsorption processes on nanostructures etc. M. In this type of SET [13] the island is movable and it is situated on the top of a cantilever which can be excited by an AC sourcedrain voltage. 244251. Marsland. Phys. vol. and O. Actuators A. Chem. vol. as central components of NEMSETs etc. 2007. pp.. pp. 241270.2007. Sci.jp/~ken/Symp2004/PDF/1C3. Phys. "Dynamics of oscillating microcantilevers in viscous fluids". and Ch. temperature and frequency fluctuations etc. vol. 3440. pp. 101. C. [9] D. "Temperaturestabilized Silicon Resonators for Frequency Reference". such as Brownian motion.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The author wishes to thank Ms.029. 45.. of Phys. J. thesis. Roukes. H.. Phys. [19] D. 96. CONCLUSION
Vibrating micro. G. Sader. doi: 10. V. Phys. Joki .