Instrumentation for the Nanogate


The Nanogate is a micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) device capable of accurately and repeatedly controlling a nanometer gap between two very flat surfaces. The nanometer gap is achieved using a circular lever-fulcrum structure made from patterned silicon and Pyrex wafers adhered to each other via anodic bonding. The distance in the center gap can be varied by pushing on the outside edge. The separation distance between the silicon and Pyrex wafers can range from a few nanometers to several microns, while the aspect ratio between the width of the gap can be as large as 10^6. The Nanogate has promising applications both as a tunable capacitor for frequency-agile wireless networks and as a nanoscale instrument for studying molecular-scale phenomena. We are developing a key technology for the Nanogate to measure the displacement of the nanometer gap using capacitive sensing.