3D printed nanoresonators: towards miniaturi

Micro-electro-mechanical devices (MEMS) are based on the integration of mechanical and electrical components at the micrometric scale. We all use it continuously in our daily life: for example in our cell phone there are at least a dozen MEMS which regulate different activities ranging from monitoring the movement, position and tilt of the phone, active filters for different transmission bands and the microphone itself.

Even more interesting is extreme nanoscale miniaturization of these devices (NEMS), because it offers the possibility of creating inertial, mass and force sensors with a sensitivity such that they can interact with unique molecules.

However, the diffusion of NEMS sensors is still limited by the high manufacturing cost of traditional silicon-based technologies. Conversely, new technologies such as 3D printing have shown that similar structures can be created at low cost and with interesting intrinsic functionality, but to date the performance as mass sensors is poor.

The article “Achieving the performance of silicon-based NEMS with nanomechanical resonators from 3D printers” published in the prestigious journal Nature Communication watch watch it is possible to obtain mechanical nanoresonators from 3D printing with merit values ​​such as quality factor, published stability, mass sensitivity and resistance comparable to silicon resonators. The research is the result of the collaboration between the Politecnico di Torino – thanks to the research activity of Stefano Stassi and Carlo Ricciardi of Department of Applied Sciences and Technology-DISAT together with Mauro tortello and Fabrice Pirri (NAMES and MPNMT groups) – and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with the search for Ido Cooperstein and Shlomo Magdassi.

The different nanodevices (membranes, cantilever, bridges) were obtained by two-photon polymerization on new liquid compositions, followed by thermal process that removes organic content, leaving a ceramic structure with great rigidity and low internal dissipation. The samples thus obtained are then characterized by Laser Doppler vibrometry.

“The NEMS that we manufactured and characterized – explains Stefano Stassi – have mechanical performances in line with current silicon devices, but they are obtained by a simpler, faster and more versatile process, thanks to which it is also possible to add new physicochemical functionalities. For example, the material used in the article is Nd: YAG, normally used as a semiconductor laser source in the infrared range “

“The ability to manufacture complex and miniature devices with performance similar to that of silicon – said Shlomo Magdassi by a simple and fast 3D printing process, opens new horizons in the field of additive manufacturing and rapid manufacturing.

The work was developed within the framework of the research projects PRIN 2017- Prot.20172TZHYX, funded by the Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca (MUR) and H2020 FET Open “Boheme”, funded by the European Union and by the Ministry Israeli Science and Technology. and the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, under its Campus of Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program.

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