MEMS fabricated nanogap electrodes

We have developed a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) to fabricate large area nanogap electrodes. A thermal actuator produces a nanogap (~ 100 nm) by controlled fracture of a single-crystalline Si beam (~ 10 x 2 x 5 µm3) (Figures 1a, 2). Flat, parallel, uniform large-area nanogap electrodes have potential applications in:

  • Nanoelectronics and molecular electronics,
  • Thermotunneling energy harvesting and refrigeration 
  • Plasmonic and SERS applications


The MEMS devices are fabricated from silicon-on-insulator wafer with 5 µm thick, n-type, single-crystalline device layer using stepper assisted photolithography, DRIE, and vapor HF etching of box layer (Figure 1b). Stepper was used to introduce sub-micron size notch on the microbeam to enhance fracture probability.