Accurate and Precise Determination of Mechanical Properties of Silicon Nitride Beam Nanoelectromechanical Devices

Hakseong Kim, Dong Hoon Shin, Kirstie McAllister, Miri Seo, Sangik Lee, Il Suk Kang, Bae Ho Park, Eleanor E.B. Campbell, Sang Wook Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Accurate and precise determination of mechanical properties of nanoscale materials is mandatory since device performances of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are closely related to the flexural properties of the materials. In this study, the intrinsic mechanical properties of highly stressed silicon nitride (SiN) beams of varying lengths are investigated using two different techniques: Dynamic flexural measurement using optical interferometry and quasi-static flexural measurement using atomic force microscopy. The resonance frequencies of the doubly clamped, highly stressed beams are found to be inversely proportional to their length, which is not usually observed from a beam but is expected from a string-like structure. The mass density of the SiN beams can be precisely determined from the dynamic flexural measurements by using the values for internal stress and Young's modulus determined from the quasi-static measurements. As a result, the mass resolution of the SiN beam resonators was predicted to be a few attograms, which was found to be in excellent agreement with the experimental results. This work suggests that accurate and precise determination of mechanical properties can be achieved through combined flexural measurement techniques, which is a crucial key for designing practical NEMS applications such as biomolecular sensors and gas detectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7282-7287
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • biomolecular sensors
  • gas detectors
  • mass sensors
  • nanoelectromechanical systems
  • resonators


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