We report Lorentz force-induced actuation of a silicon microcantilever having an integrated resistive heater. Oscillating current through the cantilever interacts with the magnetic field around a NdFeB permanent magnet and induces a Lorentz force that deflects the cantilever. The same current induces cantilever heating. With AC currents as low as 0.2mA, the cantilever can be oscillated as much as 80nm at resonance with a DC temperature rise of less than 5°C. By comparison, the AC temperature variation leads to a thermomechanical oscillation that is about 1000 times smaller than the Lorentz deflection at the cantilever resonance. The cantilever position in the nonuniform magnetic field affects the Lorentz force-induced deflection, with the magnetic field parallel to the cantilever having the largest effect on cantilever actuation. We demonstrate how the cantilever actuation can be used for imaging, and for measuring the local material softening temperature by sensing the contact resonance shift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055709
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 10 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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