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This paper presents fabrication, characterization, and modeling of micro/nanoelectromechanical high-frequency resonators actuated using thermal forces with piezoresistive readout. Thermally actuated single-crystalline silicon resonators with frequencies (up to 61 MHz) have been successfully demonstrated. It is shown both theoretically and experimentally that, as opposed to the general perception, thermal actuation can be a viable actuation mechanism for high-frequency resonators, and using appropriate design guidelines, this actuation mechanism could even be more suitable for higher frequency rather than lower frequency applications. It has been shown through comprehensive thermoelectro-mechanical modeling that thermal-piezoresistive nanomechanical resonators with frequencies in the gigahertz range can exhibit motional conductance values as high as 1 mA/V while consuming static power as low as a few microwatts.
Date of Publication: April 2011