Special EE Seminar

Friday April 7, 2017 4:00 PM

Engineering at the Limits of the Nanoscale

Speaker: Farnaz Niroui, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Moore B280

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At the nanoscale, unique properties and phenomena emerge that can lead to scientific and technological paradigms beyond those classically envisioned. Exploring these opportunities at the few-nanometer regime requires unprecedented precision, resolution and control, not readily feasible through conventional processing and metrology techniques. In particular, the dynamic, reliable and reversible structural tuning of such small dimensions remains a great challenge, yet a promising platform to enable nanosystems of new and improved functionalities.

This talk will introduce an approach to achieve nanometer precision, resolution and control in fabrication and tunability by engineering surfaces and surface adhesive forces. In this scheme, molecular layers are utilized as nanoscale springs in which conformational changes in response to an applied electrostatic force allow controlled and reversible tuning of the architecture. As a case study, the use of this mechanism in developing tunneling-based nanoelectromechanical switches composed of an electromechanically tunable metal-molecule-metal switching gap will be discussed. With the potential to achieve stiction-free and low-voltage operation, these devices address two of the main challenges commonly faced by electromechanical switches. Conformational changes in such precisely defined tunable molecular junctions can also modulate light-matter interactions. This effect is leveraged to design a dynamic plasmonic ruler, a much desired metrology tool to study motion and mechanical properties at the nanoscale. The processing and tunability techniques developed in this work extend in applications beyond the examples provided here, introducing versatile platforms to enable engineering at the limits of the nanoscale.

Series Electrical Engineering Special Seminar

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