This paper reports electrothermal actuation of silicon microcantilevers having integrated resistive heaters. Periodic electrical excitation induced periodic resistive heating in the cantilever, while the cantilever deflection was monitored with a photodetector. Excitation was either at the cantilever resonant frequency, f0, f0 2, or f0 3. When the time averaged maximum cantilever temperature was 174 °C, the cantilever out-of-plane actuation amplitude was 484 nm near the cantilever resonance frequency of 24.9 kHz. This actuation was sufficiently large to operate the cantilever in intermittent contact mode and scan a calibration grating of height of 20 nm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126102
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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