Using MEMS as Self-Calibrating Force-Displacement Transducers: A Computational Study

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Accurate and precise measurements of forces and displacements are critical to the improved understanding, discovery, and prediction of micro- and nanoscale phenomena. Since geometric and material properties of MEMS vary from run to run, it is critically important to be able to easily, quickly, and precisely calibrate MEMS that are used for important sensing applications. In this paper we propose a practical methodology that will allow researchers to employ self-calibrating MEMS as tools for force-displacement sensing and actuation applications. That is, we show that MEMS themselves can be used to determine their comb drive force and displacement characteristics without the use of large and unwieldy laboratory testing equipment such as scanning electron microscopes and the like. As a test case, we show how MEMS can be used to calibrate the displacement, force, and stiffness of an atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Nanotechnology 2010: Electronics, Devices, Fabrication, MEMS, Fluidics and Computational
Published: June 21, 2010
Pages: 364 - 367
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 978-1-4398-3402-2