Hanscom Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Meeting

Thursday, 1 February 2007

2:00 PM Refreshments

2:15 - 3:15 PM Talk

SN Conference Room, Bldg. 1128, Hanscom AFB, MA


Nanoelectromechanical Sensing and Metrology: Recent Progress

Prof. Kamil L. Ekinci,

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering,  Boston University

Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) have been at the center of recent applied and fundamental research.  Most NEMS are resonant devices — much like simple tuning forks — with submicron dimensions.  In this size regime, NEMS come with extremely high fundamental resonance frequencies, diminished active masses and tolerable force constants; the quality (Q) factors of resonance are in the range Q~103-105.  These attributes collectively make NEMS suitable for a multitude of technological applications — such as ultrasensitive force and mass sensing, narrow band filtering, and time keeping.  From a fundamental physics point of view, NEMS are expected to enable the observation of quantum behavior in mesoscopic mechanical systems. 

This presentation will start with a brief description of our recent work on nanomechanical mass sensing.  It will then outline some of the challenges involved in realizing a practical NEMS mass sensor and focus on our efforts in addressing these challenges.  One of the challenges, namely the operation of a nanomechanical resonator in a rarefied gas atmosphere, has led us to re-investigate a well-known fluid dynamics problem:  Stokes’ second problem of an oscillating plate in a fluid.  At the frequencies of NEMS motion, Stokes’ second problem needs to be reformulated in order to accurately describe NEMS motion.  On the other hand, our efforts to develop tunneling displacement transducers have resulted in progress towards a functional radiofrequency scanning tunneling microscope (STM). 

For base access, please contact Anthony Midey at (781)-377-3556 or anthony.midey@hanscom.af.mil.






Kamil Ekinci has been an assistant professor in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Boston University since January of 2002. He obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Brown University in 1999. There, he designed and built one of the first low temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscopes (STM) with sample manipulation capabilities. His experiments there led to a qualitative understanding of film growth mechanisms at low temperatures, where diffusion is prohibitive. After obtaining his Ph.D., Ekinci joined Caltech Condensed Matter Physics group where he was first a postdoctoral scholar, then a senior postdoctoral scholar. During the 3 years he spent at Caltech, Ekinci focused on Nanoelectromechanical Systems (NEMS). There, he designed and built a microwave UHV cryostat for initiating studies of surface related phenomena in NEMS. In his new laboratory at Boston University, Ekinci's research group is focusing on developing nanomechanical sensors, integration of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and photonic systems, and UHV Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) investigations of nanoscale structures. More details about his research can be found at www.bu.edu/nems/