Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



ACS Nano 16 (2022) https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.2c01673


Used by permission.


The quest for realizing and manipulating ever smaller man-made movable structures and dynamical machines has spurred tremendous endeavors, led to important discoveries, and inspired researchers to venture to new grounds. Scientific feats and technological milestones of miniaturization of mechanical structures have been widely accomplished by advances in machining and sculpturing ever shrinking features out of bulk materials such as silicon. With the flourishing multidisciplinary field of low-dimensional nanomaterials, including one-dimensional (1D) nanowires/nanotubes, and two-dimensional (2D) atomic layers such as graphene/phosphorene, growing interests and sustained efforts have been devoted to creating mechanical devices toward the ultimate limit of miniaturization— genuinely down to the molecular or even atomic scale. These ultrasmall movable structures, particularly nanomechanical resonators that exploit the vibratory motion in these 1D and 2D nano-to-atomic-scale structures, offer exceptional device-level attributes, such as ultralow mass, ultrawide frequency tuning range, broad dynamic range, and ultralow power consumption, thus holding strong promises for both fundamental studies and engineering applications. In this Review, we offer a comprehensive overview and summary of this vibrant field, present the state-of-the-art devices and evaluate their specifications and performance, outline important achievements, and postulate future directions for studying these miniscule yet intriguing molecular-scale machines.