Thursday, September 6, 2012

1209.0826 (M. Gonzalez et al.)

MEMS Oscillators for Low Temperature Experiments    [PDF]

M. Gonzalez, P. Zheng, E. Garcell, Y. Lee, H. B. Chan
We have designed and characterized micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) for applications at low temperatures. The mechanical resonators were fabricated using a surface micromachining process. The devices consist of a pair of parallel plates with a well-defined gap. The top plate can be actuated for shear motion relative to the bottom fixed plate. Details on the operation and fabrication of the devices are discussed. A full characterization in air and at room temperature was conducted as a function of pressure, from 10 mTorr to 760 Torr, ranging from a highly rarefied gas to a hydrodynamic regime. Finally, we demonstrate the operation of our resonator at low temperatures immersed in superfluid He-4 and in the normal fluid of He-3 down to 50 mK. These MEMS oscillators show potential for use in a wide range of low temperature experiments, in particular, to probe novel phenomena in quantum fluids.
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