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Prototype Cantilevers for SI-Traceable NanoNewton Force Calibration



Richard S. Gates, Jon R. Pratt


A series of extremely uniform prototype reference cantilevers have been created that can be used to calibrate the spring constants of atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers and other micromechanical structures. By utilizing optimal combinations of material, design and the latest microfabrication processing techniques, arrays of cantilevers were created from single crystal (100) Si. Nominal spring constants were estimated to be in the range of 0.02 N/m to 0.2 N/m. Resonance frequency measurements were used to assess the uniformity of devices from different portions of a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer and in different processing batches. Variations of less than 1% (relative standard deviation) in resonance frequency attested to the high degree of uniformity achieved. Independent calibration of cantilevers in the array using an electrostatic force balance (EFB) indicated the actual spring constants ranged from 0.0258 N/m 0.0005 N/m ( 1.9%) to 0.2057 N/m 0.0009 N/m ( 0.44%). The results confirm the feasibility of creating uniform reference cantilevers and calibrating them using an SI-traceable technique, making these devices excellent candidates as force calibration standard reference materials (SRM s) for AFM.
Measurement Science & Technology


AFM, calibration, cantilever, spring constant


Gates, R. and Pratt, J. (2006), Prototype Cantilevers for SI-Traceable NanoNewton Force Calibration, Measurement Science & Technology, [online], (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created September 20, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017