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REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS VOLUME 75 NUMBER 6 JUNE 2004 Realization of nanoscale resolution with a micromachined thermally actuated testing stage Shaoning Lu Dmitriy A Dikin Sulin Zhang Frank T Fisher Junghoon Lee and Rodney S Ruoffa Department of Mechanical Engineering Northwestern University Evanston Illinois 60208 3111 Received 1 December 2003 accepted 19 January 2004 published online 24 May 2004 The design fabrication and characterization of a microelectromechanical systems MEMS stress strain device for testing the mechanical properties of nanomaterials is presented Thermal actuation with integrated motion amplification structures was used to both minimize the operating temperature of the device as well as realize fine motion control over large displacements The device has a working range from tens of nanometers up to 10 micrometers Displacements as small as 30 nm per 10 mA input dc current increments were obtained for the first time with thermal actuators micromachined by deep reactive ion etching DRIE The height difference offset between the moving and fixed platforms was less than 40 nm over the entire working range of the device for the input power range studied A 0 27 N force is predicted for an actuator displacement of 30 nm based on mechanical models of the device the calculated force increases linearly up to 88 N for the maximum 9 7 m displacement The operating characteristics obtained for this initial design suggest that this methodology will be useful in producing a variety of MEMS stress strain stages custom designed to yield the force and displacement resolution necessary to test many nanomaterials and nanostructures 2004 American Institute of Physics DOI 10 1063 1 1710703 I INTRODUCTION Refs 1 5 The device was designed to accommodate many different nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes various types of nanowires or thin planar films or platelets Because of its size it is also a candidate for use in the more highly constrained transmission

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