Abstract

Micro/Nano-electromechanical systems, MEMS/NEMS-based resonators are presently an important part of a wide range of applications. However, many of these devices suffer from the low signal-to-noise ratio and the need for a large driving force. Different principles were proposed to enhance the sensitivity and improve their signal-to-noise ratios (SNR), such as bifurcations, jumps and higher-order excitation. However, these methods require special designs and high actuation voltages, which are not always available in the standard function generators and power supplies. Also, it increases the devices’ overall cost and power requirements. Furthermore, parametric excitation is explored as an option to amplify the signal at a lower cost and energy demand. However, this type of excitation requires specific geometrical settings, in addition to very low damping conditions. Electrothermal actuation is investigated to achieve excitation of primary resonance, which can be used for parametric excitation. This type of excitation is desirable due to its simplicity, robustness and ability to create large internal forces at low voltages. However, the time response is limited by the thermal relaxation time. In this work, we demonstrate the use of electromagnetic actuation to significantly amplify the response of electrothermally actuated clamped-clamped resonators at first mode (primary) resonance. At ambient pressure, experimental data show 18 times amplification of the response amplitude compared with electrothermal actuation only. The method is based on introducing a permanent magnetic field to induce an out-of-plane Lorentz-force. The results show the great potential of this technique being used for a variety of sensing and signal processing applications, especially, where a large signal-to-noise ratio is required while using low operational voltages.

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