Reducing anchor loss in MEMS resonators using mesa isolation

Manoj Pandey, Robert B. Reichenbach, Alan T. Zehnder, Amit Lal, Harold G. Craighead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In microelectromechanical systems resonators, dissipation of energy through anchor points into the substrate adds to resonator energy loss, contributing to low values of Q. A design for improving Q based on the reflection of anchor-generated surface acoustic waves is presented here. In this design, the resonator is surrounded by a trench, or a mesa, that partially reflects the wave energy back to the resonator. Depending on the distance from the resonator to the mesa, the reflected wave interferes either constructively or destructively with the resonator, increasing or decreasing Q. The proposed design is experimentally tested using a dome-shaped flexural mode resonator for a range of distances of the mesa from the resonator. Improvements in Q of up to 400% are observed. The resonator/mesa system is modeled using a commercially available finite-element code. Experiments and simulations compare well, suggesting that a finite-element-method analysis can be used in the preliminary design of mesas for the optimization of Q. The concept of using mesas to improve Q is simulated for both flexural and in-plane modes of vibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-844
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Feedback systems
  • Finite-element methods
  • Isolation technology
  • Optical parametric amplifiers
  • Q-factor
  • Surface acoustic waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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