The Interplay of Nonlinearity and Noise in Tiny Resonators
Small vibrating structures, with dimensions on the scales of micro- and nano-meters, are playing increasingly important roles in sensing and time-keeping technologies. The success of these micro/nano-electro-mechanical-systems (M/NEMS) in inertial and other sensors has been transformational, for example, in sensors for automotive air bags and stability control. A similar shift is occurring in the development of the frequency generating elements that are used in virtually all electronic devices. Some basic differences exist between these tiny mechanical structures and their macro-scale counterparts, perhaps the most important of which is that they rely on resonant vibration with extremely low damping, having quality factors in the range 102-106. Also, at these sizes, one can achieve resonances in the radio frequency range and take advantage of electrostatics for actuation and readout.
Steve Shaw is Harris Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, USA. He is also University Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. He received an A.B. in Physics (1978) and an M.S.E. in Applied Mechanics (1979) from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University (1983).
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