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This paper describes a novel technique for the fabrication of surface micromachined thin silicon cantilever beams using merged epitaxial lateral overgrowth (MELO) of silicon and chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP). The objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of using this novel technique for the fabrication of arrays of ultrathin, low-stress, single-crystal silicon cantilever beams for use in ultrahigh sensitivity surface-stress or resonant-frequency-based chemical or biological detection schemes. The process flow used in this work is described in detail and the issues that were faced during the fabrication are discussed. Cantilever beams with thickness of 0.3-0.5 μm that were 10-25-μm wide and 75-130-μm long were fabricated. Mechanical characterization of the cantilever beams were performed by measuring their spring constant using the "added mass" method, which also demonstrated the use of these initial structures to detect masses as low as 10-100 pg. Further work is underway to scale the thickness of these beams down to the sub-100-nm regime.