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Ultrathin resonant cantilevers are promising for ultrasensitive detection. A technique is developed for high-yield fabrication of single-crystalline-silicon cantilevers as thin as 12 nm. The formed cantilever resonators are characterized by resonance testing in high vacuum. Significant specimen size effect on Young’s modulus of ultrathin (12–170 nm) silicon is detected. The Young’s modulus decreases monotonously as the cantilevers become thinner. The size effect is consistent with the published simulation results of direct-atomistic model, in which surface effects are taken into consideration. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.