Mass loading induced dephasing in nanomechanical resonators
Journal article, 2012
This paper presents a study of dephasing of an underdamped nanomechanical resonator subject to random mass loading of small particles. A frequency noise model is presented which describes dephasing due to the attachment and detachment of particles at random points and particle diffusion along the resonator. This situation is commonly encountered in current mass measurement experiments using nanoelectromechanical (NEM) resonators. The conditions which can lead to inhomogeneous broadening and fine structure in the modes' absorption spectra are discussed. It is also shown that the spectra of the higher-order cumulants of the (complex) vibrational mode amplitude are sensitive to the parameters characterizing the frequency noise process. Hence, measurement of these cumulants can provide information not only about the mass but also about other parameters of the particles (diffusion coefficient and attachment-detachment rates).