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Mar 21st, 2013
'Lasing' operation in an ultrasonic vibration using a MEMS oscillator
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation has succeeded in fabricating a novel ultrasonic oscillator by applying a principle analogous to an optical laser, which is widely used as a highly purified light source, to a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
The frequency purity of the output vibration is less than 1 part in1,000,000.
This result will be published in the American science journal Physical Review Letters (dated March 18) demonstrating a micromechanical device working on a totally novel mechanism. A Quartz crystal oscillator is a device that uses a mechanical resonance to create an electrical signal with high frequency stability. Thanks to its very high frequency purity, it is widely and indispensably used in telecommunication and information processing equipment. However, there is an enormous demand for higher operation frequencies in ever smaller packages in order to develop even faster and more integrated communication networks and infrastructures. NTT laboratories have been engaged in developing new applications for MEMS and its miniaturized counterpart NEMS. In this work, they have applied the operating principle of an optical laser to a micromechanical oscillator and have succeeded in observing a highly stable ultrasonic oscillation. At present, this is a "proof of principle" experiment but could be further miniaturized enabling the development of a higher frequency, and higher precision semiconductor on-chip oscillator than a Quartz crystal oscillator.
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