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Published November 2018 | Supplemental Material + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Electrical tuning of elastic wave propagation in nanomechanical lattices at MHz frequencies


Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) that operate in the megahertz (MHz) regime allow energy transducibility between different physical domains. For example, they convert optical or electrical signals into mechanical motions and vice versa. This coupling of different physical quantities leads to frequency-tunable NEMS resonators via electromechanical non-linearities. NEMS platforms with single- or low-degrees of freedom have been employed to demonstrate quantum-like effects, such as mode cooling, mechanically induced transparency, Rabi oscillation, two-mode squeezing and phonon lasing. Periodic arrays of NEMS resonators with architected unit cells enable fundamental studies of lattice-based solid-state phenomena, such as bandgaps, energy transport, non-linear dynamics and localization, and topological properties, directly transferrable to on-chip devices. Here we describe one-dimensional, non-linear, nanoelectromechanical lattices (NEML) with active control of the frequency band dispersion in the radio-frequency domain (10–30 MHz). The design of our systems is inspired by NEMS-based phonon waveguides and includes the voltage-induced frequency tuning of the individual resonators. Our NEMLs consist of a periodic arrangement of mechanically coupled, free-standing nanomembranes with circular clamped boundaries. This design forms a flexural phononic crystal with a well-defined bandgap, 1.8 MHz wide. The application of a d.c. gate voltage creates voltage-dependent on-site potentials, which can significantly shift the frequency bands of the device. Additionally, a dynamic modulation of the voltage triggers non-linear effects, which induce the formation of a phononic bandgap in the acoustic branch, analogous to Peierls transition in condensed matter. The gating approach employed here makes the devices more compact than recently proposed systems, whose tunability mostly relies on materials' compliance and mechanical non-linearities.

Additional Information

© 2018 Springer Nature Limited. Received 14 March 2018; Accepted 02 August 2018; Published 10 September 2018. We acknowledge partial support for this project from NSF EFRI Award no. 1741565, Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center at IBM Zurich and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. We thank E. Togan at ETH Zurich for his advice on interferometers. Author Contributions: J.C. and C.D. conceived the idea for the research. J.C. designed and fabricated the samples. J.C. built the experimental set-ups and performed the experiments. J.C. developed the analytical models and performed the numerical simulations. J.C. and C.D. analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Data availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Submitted - 1803.06427.pdf

Supplemental Material - 41565_2018_252_MOESM1_ESM.pdf


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