Introduction to Nanomechanics (Fall 2019)


This course (not surprisingly) focuses on the mechanics of very small objects. In particular, we will discuss the regime of nanometer-scale objects where classical theory begins to break down and quantum mechanical behavior emerges. In order to do so, we will touch on continuum mechanics, statistical mechanics, opto-mechanics, and quantum mechanics. After covering the fundamentals of the field, we will study its most important results up to and including contemporary work. We will discuss efforts to bring nanomechanical resonators into the quantum mechanical regime. We will also emphasize the most practical and successful applications of these devices, i.e. as sensors of force, mass, and displacement.

The main topics to be covered include: mechanical sensors, cantilever mechanics (statics and dynamics), dissipation and noise in mechanical systems, nanomechanical transducers, cooling mechanical resonators, the standard quantum limit on displacement measurement, nanomechanical mass and force sensing, and current trends and applications.

Format and Requirements

The course consists of one 2-hour lecture per week and one 1-hour exercise session per week. Exercise sessions will be a forum to discuss and resolve assigned exercises. Exercises will not be graded, but their content will form the basis for the final exam and their completion is the best way to prepare for it. The final exam will be oral and will cover the major topics of the course. Grades will be on a scale of 1 to 6 based on this exam. The course will be conducted in English.

This course will be aimed at 3rd-year bachelor and master students in physics and nanoscience.  Physics III is a prerequisite. Previous course-work in solid-state physics and statistical mechanics is expected.

Most of the source material and reading in this class will be drawn from original papers in scientific journals and will be provided in class. Some reading will be based on short sections of Foundations of Nanomechanics, A. N. Cleland (Springer, 2003), Fundamentals of Nanomechanical Resonators, S. Schmid, L. G. Villanueva, and M. L. Roukes (Springer, 2016), and Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, F. Reif (McGraw-Hill, 1965). Copies of these readings will be distributed in class.


Lectures: Wednesdays, 10.00-12.00, Alter Hörsaal 2, 1.22
Exercise Session: Mondays, 14:00-15:00, 4.1