Reaching silicon-based NEMS performances with 3D printed nanomechanical resonators


Stassi S, Cooperstein I, Tortello M, Pirri CF, Magdassi S, Ricciardi C. Reaching silicon-based NEMS performances with 3D printed nanomechanical resonators. Nature Communications [Internet]. 2021;12 (1) :1 - 9.

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The extreme miniaturization in NEMS resonators offers the possibility to reach an unprecedented resolution in high-performance mass sensing. These very low limits of detection are related to the combination of two factors: a small resonator mass and a high quality factor. The main drawback of NEMS is represented by the highly complex, multi-steps, and expensive fabrication processes. Several alternatives fabrication processes have been exploited, but they are still limited to MEMS range and very low-quality factor. Here we report the fabrication of rigid NEMS resonators with high-quality factors by a 3D printing approach. After a thermal step, we reach complex geometry printed devices composed of ceramic structures with high Young’s modulus and low damping showing performances in line with silicon-based NEMS resonators ones. We demonstrate the possibility of rapid fabrication of NEMS devices that present an effective alternative to semiconducting resonators as highly sensitive mass and force sensors.