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Phononic Frequency Combs For Engineering MEMS/NEMS Devices With Tunable Sensitivity



Adarsh V. Ganesan, Ashwin Seshia, Jason J. Gorman


Over the past two decades, MEMS resonators have received considerable attention for physical, chemical and biological sensing applications. Typically, the operation of MEMS resonant sensors relies on the tracking of a resonance frequency using a feedback oscillator. The sensitivity of these sensors is limited by physical parametric variations, as in the Young's modulus, and noise in the oscillator circuit, such that improvement in the sensitivity can require significant effort in the design, fabrication, ovenization, and control of the resonator. In this paper, we experimentally demonstrate an alternative sensing approach based on a newly documented physical phenomenon, ‘phononic frequency combs', where the sensitivity can be actively tuned by the drive conditions. In addition, the spectral response of frequency combs enables an ‘N+1' fold enhancement in the sensitivity, with ‘2N+1' being the number of spectral lines associated with a frequency comb.
Conference Dates
October 27-30, 2019
Conference Location
Montreal, CA
Conference Title


MEMS resonator, mechanical resonator, sensor, temperature sensor, nonlinear dynamics, phononic frequency comb


Ganesan, A. , Seshia, A. and Gorman, J. (2020), Phononic Frequency Combs For Engineering MEMS/NEMS Devices With Tunable Sensitivity, IEEE SENSORS 2019, Montreal, CA, [online],, (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created January 12, 2020, Updated October 12, 2021