In situ electron microscopy electromechanical characterization of a bistable NEMS device

Changhong Ke*, Horacio D. Espinosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


A previously proposed two-terminal carbon-nanotube-based device with closed-loop feedback is demonstrated through in situ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) experiments. The pull-in/pull-out tests were carried out using a multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) welded to a conductive probe attached to a nanomanipulator. The MWCNTs were cantilevered over a gold electrode and electrostatically actuated. The measured current-voltage curves exhibited the theoretically predicted hysteretic loop between the pull-in and pull-out processes. Both experiments and theoretical modeling demonstrated the bistability of the device confirming its utility in applications such as memory elements, NEMS switches, and logic devices. Failure mechanisms observed during the pull-in/pull-out event are also reported and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1484-1489
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Bistability
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Memory elements
  • Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS)
  • Tunneling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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