Embracing Nonlinearity and Thermal Fluctuations in Nanomechanics
Abstract: The field of micro-mechanics is now a well-established engineering domain with demonstrated impact in fundamental science and product development. Unfortunately, as the dimensions of the devices are reduced from the micro- to the nanoscale, the direct scaling of the fundamental principles and fabrication processes cease to work. When going from micro- to nanomechanical systems, the devices linear dynamic range can be reduced to the point where the amplitudes needed for lineal response are below the noise level and, as a consequence, operation in the nonlinear regime is unavoidable. Furthermore, thermal fluctuations and fluctuation-induced forces become relatively stronger causing significant changes in their dynamic response and on the manner in which they interact with the surrounding environment. This combination of nonlinear dynamics and high sensitivity to fluctuations has been seen as a deleterious combination for the advance of nano mechanical devices.
Rather than continuing to struggle to avoid these phenomena, it is of interest to consider how micro and nanosystem might effectively capitalize on this nonlinear fluctuating response. In this talk, I will demonstrate that nonlinearity offers unique possibilities for the controlled response of micro and nano mechanical devices and, thereby, a host of novel application opportunities. Examples of these opportunities include the development of ultrasensitive detectors, compact frequency sources with low phase noise, the engineering of dissipation reservoirs to manipulate energy decay processes, and the enhancement of synchronization range between oscillators.