Fundamentals and Applications of Nanoscale Resonators


The field of micro-mechanics is now a well-established engineering domain with demonstrated impact in fundamental science and product development. Unfortunately, as the dimensions of the devices are reduced from the micro- to the nano-scale, the direct scaling of the fundamentals principles and fabrication processes cease to work. When going from micro- to nano-mechanical systems, MEMS to NEMS, the devices linear dynamic range can be reduced to the point where the amplitudes needed for lineal response are below the noise level and, as a consequence, operation in the nonlinear regime is unavoidable. Furthermore, thermal fluctuations and fluctuation-induced forces become relatively stronger causing significant changes in their dynamic response and on the manner in which they interact with the surrounding environment. This combination of nonlinear dynamics and high sensitivity to fluctuations has been seen as a deleterious combination for the advance of nano mechanical devices.

Rather than continuing to struggle to avoid these phenomena, it is of interest to consider how micro/nanosystem might effectively capitalize on this nonlinear fluctuating response. In this talk, I will demonstrate that nonlinearity offers unique possibilities for the controlled response of micro and nano mechanical devices and, thereby, a host of novel application opportunities. Examples of these opportunities include the development of compact frequency sources with low phase noise, the engineering of dissipation reservoirs to manipulate energy decay processes, and the enhancement of synchronization range between microscopic and macroscopic oscillators.


Daniel Lopez is the Liang Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University and the Director of the Nanofabrication Lab at the Materials Research Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1995 from the Centro Atomico Bariloche in Argentina. Immediately after, he joined IBM T. J. Watson Research Center as a Postdoctoral Fellow, and in 1998, Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill, NJ) as a Research Staff member. At Bell Laboratories, he worked in developing, fabricating, and applying micro and nano electro-mechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) for optical communications, imaging, and ultra-sensitive force detectors. At Bell Labs, he was part of the team responsible for creating the world's first all-optical, high-speed data switch (LambdaRouter). In 2008, he moved to Argonne National Laboratory to lead the Nanofabrication and Devices group at the Center for Nanoscale Materials. During the time he served as group leader, he developed new strategic research directions in materials science, built a milli-kelvin cryogenic facility for research in quantum materials, created an active international community of users from academia and industry, and enhanced the group's nanofabrication capabilities by adding new space and state-of-the-art processing, characterization, and synthesis tools. In 2020, after spending a year at NIST (Gaithersburg) working on quantum packaging for atomic sensors, Dr. Lopez joined Penn State University as a named Professor of EE and Director of their Nanofabrication Lab. During the year 2022, he assembled the Mid-Atlantic Semiconductor Hub (MASH), a consortium of 10 universities across six states that combines resources to meet the need of the semiconductor industry in the U.S. by strengthening and aligning research, manufacturing, and workforce development. He is affiliated with the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Division in the Physical Measurement Lab at the National Institute for Standards and Technologies (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD.

His research career covered many areas, such as novel materials, micromechanics, optical microsystems, and nanofabrication, but a common theme has been using the interplay among mechanics, photonics, and materials to advance fundamental and applied science. Some examples of his research include the fabrication of today's fastest and densest spatial light modulators, the development of methods to improve the performance of oscillators using nonlinear resonators, the most precise characterization of the quantum mechanical Casimir interaction, and the development of optical nanosystems incorporating metasurfaces and MEMS devices. He has authored more than 160 technical publications, holds 32 granted patents, and has given invited talks worldwide. He collaborates with the industrial sector and with researchers and educators globally.


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Media Contact: Iam-Choon Khoo



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