Researchers construct highest frequency silicon cantilever

Researchers in Canada have constructed and measured the highest frequency silicon cantilever yet reported.

Made on a silicon-on-insulator wafer in the 147nm-thick silicon layer, the 400nm by 120nm wide cantilever oscillated at 1.04GHz.

The team, from the University of Alberta, the Canadian National Institute for Nanotechnology, and a firm called Norcada, constructed the cantilever as part of a project to control and measure MEMS in the time domain.

Devices from 10MHz to 1GHz were made, and measured using a laser technique.

Results show cantilevers can be set to oscillate, and also stopped almost completely, by carefully-timed rectangular force pulses applied electrostatically.

“They can turn on and turn off the oscillation of the resonator in less than one oscillation cycle – like un-ringing a bell – in less than a nanosecond,” said a project spokesman.

“This level of control over nano-cantilever resonators makes it much more likely they could be used as digital devices in communication, memory and computation.”

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