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Design of a MEMS force sensor for quantitative measurement in the nano- to piconewton range



John M. Moreland


We describe the design and fabrication of a MEMS based force sensor with SI traceability for measurement of forces from a few nanonewtons down to 200 piconewtons. The sensor is based on the same principles of operation as the larger-scale Electrostatic Force Balance at NIST. It consists of a silicon rigid arm supported on tethers, two sets of capacitive electrodes for electrostatic actuation and capacitance gradient sensing, and a fiber optic Fabry-Perot cavity interferometer with a demonstrated displacement resolution of 2 picometers. We describe the design of the sensor’s kinematic stage and its theoretical performance metrics.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the MEMS & Microsystems Topical Workshop, 6th International Conference & Exhibition on Device Packaging, Scottsdale, AZ
Conference Dates
March 8-11, 2010
Conference Location
Scottsdale, AZ


MEMS, force sensor, SI traceable, nN, pN
Created January 1, 2010, Updated November 10, 2018