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ACS Nano. 2019 Jan 22;13(1):449-457. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.8b06736. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

Soft Three-Dimensional Microscale Vibratory Platforms for Characterization of Nano-Thin Polymer Films.

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Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , Illinois 61801 , United States.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics , Northwestern University , Evanston , Illinois 60208 , United States.
Department of Aerospace Engineering , Pennsylvania State University , State College , Pennsylvania 16802 , United States.
Department of Chemistry , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , Illinois 61801 , United States.
School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering (State Key Laboratory of Ocean Engineering) , Shanghai Jiaotong University , Shanghai 200000 , China.
Center for Flexible Electronics Technology and Center for Mechanics and Materials; AML, Department of Engineering Mechanics , Tsinghua University , Beijing 100084 , China.
Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science, and Neurological Surgery, Simpson Querrey Institute for Nano/biotechnology, McCormick School of Engineering, and Feinberg School of Medicine , Northwestern University , Evanston , Illinois 60208 , United States.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , Illinois 61801 , United States.


Vibrational resonances of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) can serve as means for assessing physical properties of ultrathin coatings in sensors and analytical platforms. Most such technologies exist in largely two-dimensional configurations with a limited total number of accessible vibration modes and modal displacements, thereby placing constraints on design options and operational capabilities. This study presents a set of concepts in three-dimensional (3D) microscale platforms with vibrational resonances excited by Lorentz-force actuation for purposes of measuring properties of thin-film coatings. Nanoscale films including photodefinable epoxy, cresol novolak resin, and polymer brush with thicknesses as small as 270 nm serve as the test vehicles for demonstrating the advantages of these 3D MEMS for detection of multiple physical properties, such as modulus and density, within a single polymer sample. The stability and reusability of the structure are demonstrated through multiple measurements of polymer samples using a single platform, and via integration with thermal actuators, the temperature-dependent physical properties of polymer films are assessed. Numerical modeling also suggests the potential for characterization of anisotropic mechanical properties in single or multilayer films. The findings establish unusual opportunities for interrogation of the physical properties of polymers through advanced MEMS design.


anisotropic properties; lorentz-force actuation; microelectromechanical systems; multimodal resonance; polymer mechanics; three-dimensional structures


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