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Physics Colloquium Series

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Speaker: Benjamín Alemán, University of Oregon

Title: The fall and rise of the mass on a spring

Abstract: The mass on a spring and other mechanical systems have long found use in everyday applications like time-keeping clocks, but, at one time, they were also employed in smarter information technologies such as calculators and computers. However, their place in information processing was eclipsed by the emergence of silicon-based microelectronics. In recent years, thanks largely to the nanometer-scale miniaturization of mechanical systems and the discovery of atomic-scale materials like graphene, mechanical analogs to the mass on a spring have been rising in scientific and technological prominence, and are once again knocking on the door of more sophisticated uses. The next step in this mechanical evolution–as occurred with electronic microchips–is to form large programmable networks of interacting nanomechanical resonators, but such networks demand unprecedented, scalable control over the resonance frequencies and coupling of the constituent resonators. Here, I will detail recent projects in my lab that advance the quest for networks based on optically addressable graphene nanoelectromechanical resonators. By harnessing several unique properties of graphene, we develop an optoelectronic non-volatile mechanical strain memory and a means for fast, photothermally mediated strain modulation, which together enable local static and dynamic frequency control of resonators in large arrays. I will discuss several applications already enabled by our work, such as a new light detector that “hears” light, as well as some wilder, yet promising aspirations.

Location: Room 100, Willamette hall

Host: Laura Jeanty

Please join us for a catered reception at 3:40pm in the Paul Olum, Willamette Hall Atrium.

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