Nonlinear dynamics in micromechanical and nanomechanical resonators and oscillators
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In recent years, the study of nonlinear dynamics in microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) has attracted considerable attention, motivated by both fundamental and practical interests. One example is the phenomenon of stochastic resonance. Previous measurements have established the presence of this counterintuitive effect in NEMS, showing that certain amounts of white noise can effectively amplify weak switching signals in nanomechanical memory elements and switches. However, other types of noise, particularly noises with 1/fα spectra, also bear relevance in these and many other systems. At a more fundamental level, the role which noise color plays in stochastic resonance remains an open question in the field. To these ends, this work presents systematic measurements of stochastic resonance in a nanomechanical resonator using 1/fα and Ornstein-Uhlenbeck noise types. All of the studied noise spectra induce stochastic resonance proving that colored noise can also be beneficial; however, stronger noise correlations suppress the effect, decreasing the maximum signal-to-noise ratio and increasing the optimal noise intensity. Evidence suggests that 1/fα noise spectra with increasing noise color lead to increasingly asymmetric switching, reducing the achievable amplification. Another manifestly nonlinear effect anticipated in these systems is modal coupling. Measurements presented here demonstrate interactions between various mode types on a wide scale, providing the first reported observations of coupling in bulk longitudinal modes of MEMS. As a result of anharmonic elastic effects, each mode shifts in frequency by an amount proportional to the squared displacement (or energy) of a coupled mode. Since all resonator modes couple in this manner, these effects enable nonlinear measurement of energy and mechanical nonlinear signal processing across a wide range of frequencies. Finally, while these experiments address nonlinear dynamics in passive resonators, self-sustained MEMS are becoming increasingly prevalent in both research and technology for crucial objectives, such as measurement of time. Despite some effort, much work remains in order to understand phase noise and stability for an oscillator based upon a nonlinear resonator. With the eventual goal of making comprehensive measurements of such a nonlinear oscillator with controlled amplitude and phase, this work describes the realization of a micromechanical phase feedback oscillator.
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