Photothermal actuation in nanomechanical waveguide devices

Wolfram H.P. Pernice, Mo Li, Hong X. Tang

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We analyze the photothermal response of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) integrated in a silicon photonic circuit over a wide frequency range. The dynamic response of NEMS devices is studied using a two-color pump-probe scheme in an on-chip photonic Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The measured response is composed of three contributions: (i) the mechanical response of the NEMS device, (ii) the thermal response of the substrate due to diffusive heating, and (iii) self-heating of the NEMS beam. Analytical and numerical studies of the self-heating effect reveal a first-order thermal roll-off behavior in close agreement with experimental results. Device actuation due to self-heating of the beam is shown to dominate other effects at low frequencies, while an exponential roll-off with 20 dB per decade at high frequencies is observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014508
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
W.H.P.P. would like to thank the Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation for providing a postdoctoral fellowship.


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