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Nanoscale mapping of in situ actuating microelectromechanical systems with AFM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2015

Manuel Rivas
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA
Varun Vyas
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA
Aliya Carter
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA
James Veronick
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA
Yusuf Khan
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA
Oleg V. Kolosov
Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK
Ronald G. Polcawich
US Army Research Laboratory, Micro and Nano Electronic Materials and Devices Branch, Adelphi, Maryland 20783, USA
Bryan D. Huey
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA
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Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are increasingly at our fingertips. To understand and thereby improve their performance, especially given their ever-decreasing sizes, it is crucial to measure their functionality in situ. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is well suited for such studies, allowing nanoscale lateral and vertical resolution of static displacements, as well as mapping of the dynamic response of these physically actuating microsystems. In this work, the vibration of a tuning fork based viscosity sensor is mapped and compared to model experiments in air, liquid, and a curing collagen gel. The switching response of a MEMS switch with nanosecond time-scale activation is also monitored – including mapping resonances of the driving microcantilever and the displacement of an overhanging contact structure in response to periodic pulsing. Such nanoscale in situ AFM investigations of MEMS can be crucial for enhancing modeling, design, and the ultimate performance of these increasingly important and sophisticated devices.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2015 

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Nanoscale mapping of in situ actuating microelectromechanical systems with AFM
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