Micromachined cantilevers have been demonstrated to be effective measuring devices for small forces and displacements. Applications for such micro-electro mechanical systems include imaging of surface topography, data storage, and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Researchers at Stanford University have developed a piezoresistive sensor with independent vertical and lateral force detection capability using oblique ion implantation and high aspect-ratio plasma etching [1–3]. An SEM image of the device is shown in Figure 1. Although this device has been successfully used to obtain data and for servo control of a tracking system for a data storage device, its mechanical behavior has not been carefully studied. This device can be used to measure forces or deflections in various applications. This paper demonstrates how the device performance can be optimized for a specific set of requirements. Applications with different stiffness or bandwidth requirements may be designed using similar methods.

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