Force-compensating MEMS sensor for AFM cantilever stiffness calibration

M. Bulut Coskun, Steven Moore, S.O. Reza Moheimani, Adrian Neild, Tuncay Alan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


We have developed a force compensating MEMS sensor along with corresponding feedback control circuitry to characterize samples with a wide range of mechanical stiffnesses without loss of accuracy. The device consists of a movable shuttle supported by slender flexures, integrated thermal displacement sensors and comb-drive actuators controlled with a customized circuitry. The operation principle is simple but subtle: as the device applies loads on a sample, any shuttle displacement which would typically be incurred in conventional systems, is immediately nullified through an electrostatic force generated by the combs. The system allows the forces to be transduced directly. And, more importantly, thanks to the control algorithm, the range and precision of the applied forces become independent of both the mechanical device parameters and sample compliance. Hence, the number of necessary calibration steps is reduced significantly whilst the measurement range is substantially increased.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th IEEE SENSORS Conference, SENSORS 2014
Subtitle of host publicationValencia, Spain; 2-5 November 2014
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781479901616, 9781479901623
ISBN (Print)9781479901609
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2014
EventIEEE Conference on Sensors 2014 - Valencia Conference Centre, Valencia, Spain
Duration: 2 Nov 20145 Nov 2014
Conference number: 13th (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Sensors
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN (Print)1930-0395


ConferenceIEEE Conference on Sensors 2014
Abbreviated titleSENSORS 2014
Internet address


  • AFM
  • Calibration
  • Cantilever
  • Force sensor
  • MEMS

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