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Nano electromechanical systems (NEMS) based on carbon nanotubes

(with A. Jungen, T. Helbling and C. Hierold)

INTRODUCTION - The ongoing research on nanomecahnaics and Nano ElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS) opens a variety of promising novel functionalities for future nanosystems. However, this inevitable, logical development of Micro ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) into the nano regime suffers mainly from the lack of reproducible processess on the nanoscale. From this point of view new materials (e.g. single-walled carbon nanotubes) and new transducer concepts, utilizing the unique properties of the new materials, or sensing on the nanoscale become very important and favourable.

OBJECTIVES - The major goal of this project is to explore the properties and the potential use of single-walled carbon nanotubes as active elements in electromechanical transducers, integrated in nano electromechanical (NEMS) test stands. This is a first and exciting step into the field of single walled carbon nanotube based nanosystems providing a foundation for future research in nanosystem transducers. The proposed nano-systems will be used to study the exceptional electrical, mechanical and electromechanical properties of single walled carbon nanotubes. This research will focus on the integration of carbon nanostructures with state-of-the-art micromachining techniques.

FIGURE - (A) AFM image of SWNTs next to a reference alignment marker (hatched area) used to design the mask for the nano bridge. (B) AFM image of the same area after the second metallization. (C) SEM image of the fabricated single-walled carbon nanotube based NEMS. The suspended SWNT can nicely be seen (marked by the black arrows).

[1] Fabrication of Discrete Nano-Scaled Force Sensors Based on Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes;
C. Stampfer, A. Jungen and C. Hierold, IEEE Sensors Journal 6 (3) 613-627 (2006).

[2] Fabrication of single-walled carbon nanotube based pressure sensors;
C. Stampfer, T. Helbling, D. Obergfell, B. Schöberle, M. K. Tripp, A. Jungen, S. Roth, V. M. Bright and C. Hierold, Nano Lett. 6 (2) 233-237 (2006).

[3] Micromachined pressure sensors for electromechanical characterization of carbon nanotubes;
C. Stampfer, T. Helbling, A. Jungen, and C. Hierold, Physica Status Solidi B 243 3537-3541 (2006).

[4] Nano-electromechanical displacement sensing based on single-walled carbon nanotubes;
C. Stampfer, A. Jungen, R. Linderman, D. Obergfell, S. Roth, and C. Hierold, Nano Lett. 6 (7) 1449-1453 (2006).

[5] Nano Electromechanical Sensors based on Carbon Nanotubes;
C. Hierold, A. Jungen, C. Stampfer, and T. Helbling, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical 136 51-61, (2007) .

[6] Electron Shuttle Instability for Nano Electromechanical Mass Sensing;
C. Stampfer, J. Güttinger, C. Roman, A. Jungen, T. Helbling, and C. Hierold, Nano Lett. 7 (9) 2747-2752 (2007).


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