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Micro- and nano-mechanical resonators have been proposed for a variety of applications ranging from mass sensing to signal processing. Often their actuation and/or detection involve external subsystems that are much larger than the resonator itself. We have designed a simple microcantilever resonator with integrated sensor and actuator, facilitating the integration of large arrays of resonators. This unique design can be manufactured with a low-cost fabrication process, involving just a single step of lithography. The bilayer cantilever of gold and silicon dioxide is used as piezoresistive sensor as well as thermal bimorph actuator. The ac current used for actuation and the dc current used for piezoresistive detection are separated in the frequency-domain using a bias-tee circuit configuration. The resonant response is measured by detecting the second harmonic of the actuation current using a lock-in amplifier.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013