Mechanical characterization of torsional micro-paddles using atomic force microscopy

Mahmoodi, Nasim; Sabouri, Aydin; Bowen, James; Anthony, Carl J and Mendes, Paula M (2018). Mechanical characterization of torsional micro-paddles using atomic force microscopy. Journal of Sensors, article no. 6160907.



The reference cantilever method is shown to act as a direct and simple method for determination of torsional spring constant. It has been applied to the characterization of micropaddle structures similar to those proposed for resonant functionalized chemical sensors and resonant thermal detectors. It is shown that this method can be used as an effective procedure to characterize a key parameter of these devices and would be applicable to characterization of other similar MEMS/NEMS devices such as micromirrors. In this study, two sets of micropaddles are manufactured (beams at centre and offset by 2.5 μm) by using LPCVD silicon nitride as a substrate. The patterning is made by direct milling using focused ion beam. The torsional spring constant is achieved through micromechanical analysis via atomic force microscopy. To obtain the gradient of force curve, the area of the micropaddle is scanned and the behaviour of each pixel is investigated through an automated developed code. The experimental results are in a good agreement with theoretical results.

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