Transducers based on quantum mechanical tunneling provide an extremely sensitive sensor principle, especially for nanoelectromechanical systems. For proper operation a gap between the electrodes of below 1 nm is essential, requiring the use of structures with a mobile electrode. At such small distances, attractive van der Waals and capillary forces become sizable, possibly resulting in snap-in of the electrodes. The authors present a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the interplay between the involved forces and identify requirements for the design of tunneling sensors. Based on this analysis, a tunneling sensor is fabricated by Si micromachining technology and its proper operation is demonstrated. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.
Bibliographical noteCopyright (2006) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.
- ATOMIC-FORCE MICROSCOPY
- MASS DETECTION