Optically driven resonance of nanoscale flexural oscillators in liquid

Scott S. Verbridge, Leon M. Bellan, Jeevak M. Parpia, H. G. Craighead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We demonstrate the operation of radio frequency nanoscale flexural resonators in air and liquid. Doubly clamped string, as well as singly clamped cantilever resonators, with nanoscale cross-sectional dimensions and resonant frequencies as high as 145 MHz are driven in air as well as liquid with an amplitude modulated laser. We show that this laser drive technique can impart sufficient energy to a nanoscale resonator to overcome the strong viscous damping present in these media, resulting in a mechanical resonance that can be measured by optical interference techniques. Resonance in air, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, water, and phosphate-buffered saline is demonstrated for devices having cross-sectional dimensions close to 100 nm. For operation in air, quality factors as high as 400 at 145 MHz are demonstrated. In liquid, quality factors ranging from 3 to 10 and frequencies ranging from 20 to 100 MHz are observed. These devices, and an all-optical actuation and detection system, may provide insight into the physics of the interaction of nanoscale mechanical structures with their environments, greatly extending the viscosity range over which such small flexural resonant devices can be operated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2109-2114
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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