NEMS Oscillators – Main challenges and workarounds. Does it really make sense?

ECE Seminar: NEMS Oscillators – Main challenges and workarounds. Does it really make sense?

Starts at: April 30, 2015 4:30 PM

Ends at: 6:00 PM

Location: Scaife 125

Speaker: Dr. Guillermo Villanueva

Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausane

Refreshments provided: Yes

Link to Poster

Link to Video (1)


Miniaturization has been the main motor driving the development of integrated circuits for more than 60 years. This has allowed an unprecedented (exponential) improvement in most IT-related systems, devices and services. However, when we look into oscillators, we can see that this tendency has not been maintained. Quartz remains the dominant technology after almost a century.
In my talk I will present the reasons for this hindered miniaturization of mechanical resonators going to the limit of NanoElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS), focusing on the main challenges and workarounds, like the use of nonlinearity, synchronization or parametric feedback. Finally, I will switch gears to talk about NEMS-based resonant sensors, for which the performance Figure of Merit changes and therefore the final conclusion might be different than for clocks or frequency sources.
1. L.G. Villanueva et al., Nano Lett, 5054-5059 (2011).
2. L.G. Villanueva et al., Phys Rev Lett, 177208 (2013).
3. M. Matheny et al., Phys Rev Lett, 112, 014101 (2014).
4. E. Kenig et al., Phys Rev Lett, 264102 (2012).

Guillermo Villanueva obtained his Ms. Sc. in Physics in 2002 from the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and obtained his Ph.D. in Microelectronic Engineering from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2006 for his work on the NEMS/MEMS for biodetection and scanning probes. He then worked as a post-doctoral researcher at EPFL, Caltech and DTU in the fields of nanofabrication, coupled and non-linear phenomena and dissipation in NEMS.
In 2013 he joined EPFL as a SNSF Assistant Professor to continue his research in fundamentals of nanomechanical systems for sensing and communications.
In 2005 he was awarded the MNE Young Investigator Award for his PhD work, in 2008 he was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship and in 2014 he was awarded the MEE Young Investigator Award.