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Nano-Electro-Mechanical Switches Derived from Carbon-Based Nanomaterials

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We provide an overview of our work where carbon-based nanostructures have been applied to two-dimensional (2D) planar and three-dimensional (3D) vertically-oriented nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) switches. In the first configuration, laterally oriented single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) synthesized using thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) were implemented for forming bridge-type 2D NEMS switches, where switching voltages were on the order of a few volts. In the second configuration, vertically oriented carbon nanofibers (CNFs) synthesized using plasma-enhanced (PE) CVD have been explored for their potential application in 3D NEMS. We have performed nanomechanical measurements on such vertically oriented tubes using nanoindentation to determine the mechanical robustness of the CNFs. Electrostatic switching was demonstrated in the CNFs synthesized on refractory metallic nitride substrates, where a nanoprobe was used as the actuating electrode inside a scanning-electron-microscope. The switching voltages were determined to be in the tens of volts range and van der Waals interactions at these length scales appeared significant, suggesting such structures are promising for nonvolatile memory applications. A finite element model was also developed to determine a theoretical pull-in voltage which was compared to experimental results.
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Keywords: CNFS; IN SITU CHARACTERIZATION; MECHANICAL RESONATORS; NANOELECTRONICS; NEMS; SWNTS

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters (NNL) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating nanoscale research activities in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. NNL provides the means for scientists, engineers, medical experts and technocrats to publish original short research articles as communications/letters of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of the physical sciences, engineering and medicine.
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