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Nanophotonic detection of nanomechanical structures for use toward mass sensing applications Open Access


Other title
racetrack resonator
mass sensor
nano-optomechanical systems
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sauer, Vincent T K
Supervisor and department
Tsui, Ying (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Freeman, Mark (Physics)
Examining committee member and department
Tang, Hong (Electrical Engineering, Physics & Applied Physics)
Hiebert, Wayne (Physics)
Van, Vien (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Thundat, Thomas (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Microsystems and Nanodevices
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Nanomechanical beam resonators show much promise for use in integrated on-chip mass sensing systems. This follows from their own very small masses and also their ability to store the mechanical energy of their oscillations to produce strong measurable mechanical response signals. To achieve higher mass sensitivities the size of these nanomechanical beams is decreasing and as a result the transduction of their mechanical motion is becoming more difficult. This follows from smaller nanomechanical devices operating at higher frequencies and with smaller ranges of motion. Nanophotonics is very well suited to measure devices with these properties in mind. Optical signals of nano-optomechanical system (NOMS) devices are not limited due to high frequency roll-off like traditional electronic measurement techniques, and they have exhibited very high mechanical displacement sensitivities. The nanophotonic transduction and actuation of nanomechanical cantilevers is demonstrated using integrated nanophotonic structures. Mach-Zehnder interferometer and nanophotonic racetrack resonator optical cavity transduction is demonstrated with good results for size independent nanomechanical cantilever beams. The devices are studied with the application of mass sensing in mind and multiplexed operation is demonstrated to mitigate the small capture area of individual nanomechanical beams. A nanostencil structure fabrication process is also developed using materials compatible with integrated optical systems. These overshield structures function to both protect the nanophotonic structures from uncontrolled analyte interactions along with removing the ambiguity of a mass loading event by eliminating uncertainty in mass loading location. This control of mass loading location can also be used to limit the deposition area of analyte on the beam to ensure maximum mechanical responsivity for each mass loading event. The NOMS detection method shows good promise for integrating nanomechanical beams into future mass sensing systems.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Sauer, V.T.K., Diao, Z., Freeman, M.R., and Hiebert, W.K. "Optical racetrack resonator transduction of nanomechanical cantilevers." Nanotechnology 25, p. 055202-1-11 (2014).Diao, Z., Losby, J., Sauer, V.T.K., Westwood, J.N., Freeman, M.R., and Hiebert, W.K. "Confocal scanner for highly sensitive photonic transduction of nanomechanical resonators." Applied Physics Express 6, p. 065202-1-4 (2013).Sauer, V.T.K., Diao, Z., Freeman, M.R., and Hiebert, W.K. "Nanophotonic detection of side-coupled nanomechanical cantilevers." Applied Physics Letters 100, p. 261102-1-4 (2012).Sauer, V.T.K, Freeman, M.R., and Hiebert, W.K. "Device overshield for mass-sensing enhancement (DOME) structure fabrication." Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 20, p. 105020-1-6 (2010).

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File title: Nanophotonic detection of nanomechanical structures for use as mass sensors, Ph. D. Thesis
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