Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - NEMS INERTIAL IMAGE (Inertial Imaging with Nanoelectromechanical Systems)

Nanoelectromechanical Systems (NEMS) are electronically controllable, mechanical structures engineered at the nano-scale. Due to their small size and large vibration frequencies, they can be used as high-performance sensors: for instance, NEMS sensors working at high-vacuum and low-temperature can measure the mass of single molecules. Recently, it was shown that inertial NEMS sensors can provide further multi-dimensional characterization: in addition to the molecular weight, spatial information of an analyte, such as its size and shape, can be extracted by using higher order modes of a mechanical sensor.

NEMS sensors with the ability to resolve both mass and shape of analyte molecules offer unprecedented, multi-dimensional sensing modalities. In this project, the objective is to fabricate multimodal NEMS devices –both 1D and 2D- and embed them into a vacuum system with an Electrospray Ionization front-end to deliver analytes. In the midterm report of the project, NEMS devices with integrated transduction electrodes have been fabricated. Using thermo-elastic actuation and piezo-resistive detection, the first three out-of-plane modes have been observed in high vacuum. An Electrospray source unit has been set up to generate analytes in gas phase. With a differential pumping stage under construction, the generated molecules will be transported into a vacuum system. Moreover, the theory of the technique (Inertial Imaging) was developed so that 2D structures, such as rectangular membrane resonators, can be used to obtain two-dimensional information from analytes: such as the projection of the size on both axes of the sensor. Prototype 2D membrane devices are currently being fabricated from KOH-back-etched Silicon Nitride on Silicon chips.

The project has supported the fellow in establishing a NEMS laboratory in Turkey and developing research networks in Europe. Several junior researchers have been trained in the context of the project. The project is expected to have a long-term contribution to the health-care and environmental protection efforts by contributing to low-cost, high-performance sensor technology that can characterize biomolecular samples and particulate pollution.

Reported by

Bilkent Üniversitesi


Life Sciences
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