Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Realizing and Disseminating the SI Micronewton With the Next Generation NIST Electrostatic Force Balance



Richard Seugling, David B. Newell, John A. Kramar, Jon R. Pratt


The NIST Electrostatic Force Balance (EFB) compares deadweight and mechanical probe forces to an SI realization of force derived from measurements of the capacitance gradient and voltage in an electronic null balance. In the following abstract, we briefly review recent upgrades to this device and present initial results of inter-comparisons between deadweight and electrical forces at levels of 20 microN and 200 microN in a 1000 micro Pa vacuum environment. The SI calibration of a secondary microforce standard at NIST is revisited a topic that was described for the first time in the proceedings of the ASPE Winter Topical meeting of January of 2003. Here, we update the status of that work, focusing on the use of this standard in a calibration experiment recently completed in the Physics Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). This represents our first experience with disseminating SI force at the micronewton level to a user outside of NIST. Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials are identified in this article in order to specify the experimental procedure adequately. Such identification is not intended to imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nor is it intended to imply that the materials or equipment identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the American Society for Precision Engineering
Conference Dates
October 29, 2004
Conference Location
Orlando, FL


atomic force microscope, calibration, force balance, Nanonewton


Seugling, R. , Newell, D. , Kramar, J. and Pratt, J. (2004), Realizing and Disseminating the SI Micronewton With the Next Generation NIST Electrostatic Force Balance, Proceedings of the American Society for Precision Engineering, Orlando, FL (Accessed July 25, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 1, 2004, Updated February 19, 2017