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Nanotechnology. 2012 Jun 8;23(22):225501. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/22/225501. Epub 2012 May 10.

A single active nanoelectromechanical tuning fork front-end radio-frequency receiver.

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  • 1Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) offer the potential to revolutionize fundamental methods employed for signal processing in today's telecommunication systems, owing to their spectral purity and the prospect of integration with existing technology. In this work we present a novel, front-end receiver topology based on a single device silicon nanoelectromechanical mixer-filter. The operation is demonstrated by using the signal amplification in a field effect transistor (FET) merged into a tuning fork resonator. The combination of both a transistor and a mechanical element into a hybrid unit enables on-chip functionality and performance previously unachievable in silicon. Signal mixing, filtering and demodulation are experimentally demonstrated at very high frequencies ( > 100 MHz), maintaining a high quality factor of Q = 800 and stable operation at near ambient pressure (0.1 atm) and room temperature (T = 300 K). The results show that, ultimately miniaturized, silicon NEMS can be utilized to realize multi-band, single-chip receiver systems based on NEMS mixer-filter arrays with reduced system complexity and power consumption.

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