High-Precision Displacement Sensing of Monolithic Piezoelectric Disk Resonators Using a Single-Electron Transistor

J. Li, J. T. Santos, M. A. Sillanpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A single-electron transistor (SET) can be used as an extremely sensitive charge detector. Mechanical displacements can be converted into charge, and hence, SETs can become sensitive detectors of mechanical oscillations. For studying small-energy oscillations, an important approach to realize the mechanical resonators is to use piezoelectric materials. Besides coupling to traditional electric circuitry, the strain-generated piezoelectric charge allows for measuring ultrasmall oscillations via SET detection. Here, we explore the usage of SETs to detect the shear-mode oscillations of a 6-mm-diameter quartz disk resonator with a resonance frequency around 9 MHz. We measure the mechanical oscillations using either a conventional DC SET, or use the SET as a homodyne or heterodyne mixer, or finally, as a radio-frequency single-electron transistor (RF-SET). The RF-SET readout is shown to be the most sensitive method, allowing us to measure mechanical displacement amplitudes below 10−13 m. We conclude that a detection based on a SET offers a potential to reach the sensitivity at the quantum limit of the mechanical vibrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Early online date7 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Displacement detectors
  • Piezoelectric resonators
  • Single-electron transistor

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