Nano-electromechanical Drumhead Resonators from Two-Dimensional Material Bimorphs

Sunphil Kim, Jaehyung Yu, Arend M. Van Der Zande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atomic membranes of monolayer 2D materials represent the ultimate limit in the size of nano-electromechanical systems. However, new properties and new functionalities emerge by looking at the interface between layers in heterostructures of 2D materials. Here, we demonstrate the integration of 2D heterostructures as tunable nano-electromechanical systems, exploring the competition between the mechanics of the ultrathin membrane and the incommensurate van der Waals interface. We fabricate electrically contacted 5 or 6 μm circular drumheads of suspended heterostructure membranes of monolayer graphene on monolayer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which we call a 2D bimorph. We characterize the mechanical resonance through electrostatic actuation and laser interferometry detection. The 2D bimorphs have resonance frequencies of 5-20 MHz and quality factors of 50-700, comparable to resonators from monolayer or few-layer 2D materials. The frequencies and eigenmode shapes of the higher harmonics display split degenerate modes, showing that the 2D bimorphs behave as membranes with asymmetric tension. The devices display dynamic ranges of 44 dB, with an additional nonlinearity in the dissipation at small drive. Under electrostatic frequency tuning, devices display a small tuning of ∼20% compared with graphene resonators, which have >100%. In addition, the tuning shows a kink that deviates from the tensioned membrane model for atomic membranes and corresponds with a changing in stress of 14 mN/m. A model that accounts for this tuning behavior is the onset of interlayer slip in the heterostructure, allowing the tension in the membrane to relax. Using density functional theory simulations, we find that the change in stress at the kink is much larger than the predicted energy barrier for interlayer slip of 0.102 mN/m in an incommensurate 2D heterostructure but smaller than the energy barrier for an aligned graphene bilayer of 35 mN/m, suggesting a local pinning effect at ripples or folds in the heterostructure. Finally, we observe an asymmetry in tuning of the full width at half-maximum that does not exist in monolayer resonators. These findings demonstrate a new class of nano-electromechanical systems from 2D heterostructures and unravel the complex interaction of membrane morphology versus interlayer adhesion and slip on the mechanics of incommensurate van der Waals interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6686-6695
Number of pages10
JournalNano letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 14 2018


  • 2D heterostructure
  • 2D materials
  • NEMS
  • bimorph
  • mechanical resonator
  • nonlinear dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Nano-electromechanical Drumhead Resonators from Two-Dimensional Material Bimorphs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this