Updated in 4/24/2012 6:01:42 AM      Viewed: 138 times      (Patent)

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR IMPROVING THE PRECISION OF NANOSCALE FORCE AND DISPLACEMENT MEASUREMENTS

Jason Vaughn Clark ,
ABSTRACT
A self-calibrating apparatus comprises a primary device and a test structure fabricated on an integrated circuit chip. The primary device and the test structure have at least one unknown property due to a fabrication process of the integrated circuit chip. An electrical measurand sensor is configured to measure an electrical measurand of the test structure. A controller coupled to the primary device and electrical measurand sensor. The controller is configured to calculate the at least one unknown property of the test structure based on the measured electrical measurand and use the calculated at least one unknown property to calibrate the primary device.
Notes
Claims


1. A self-calibrating apparatus comprising: a primary device fabricated on an integrated circuit chip, the primary device having at least one unknown property due to a fabrication process of the integrated circuit chip; a test structure fabricated on the same integrated circuit chip as the primary device, the test structure having the same material properties as the primary device so that the test structure also has the same at least one unknown property as the primary device; an electrical measurand sensor configured to measure an electrical measurand of the test structure; and a controller coupled to the primary device and electrical measurand sensor, the controller including means for calculating the at least one unknown property of the test structure based on the measured electrical measurand, the controller using the calculated at least one unknown property to calibrate the primary device.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the electrical measurand sensor is fabricated on the same chip as the primary device and the test structure.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the controller is fabricated on the same chip as the primary device, the test structure, and the electrical measurand sensor.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the electrical measurand sensor is a capacitance sensor having at least an attofarad resolution.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the primary device is one of an atomic force microscope, a gravimeter, an AFM cantilever calibration device, a single strand DNA sequencer, a nanomanipulator, a quality control for a batch fabrication foundry, a self-calibrating chip, an altimeter, a strain sensor, a Casimir force sensor, and a biological force-displacement probe.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the test structure is a comb drive having an anchor, a guided plate, and first and second beams coupled between the anchor and the guided plate.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one unknown property comprises at least one of Young's modulus, density, stress, stain gradient, a geometrical error, viscosity, and stiffness.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the primary device is an atomic force microscope.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the atomic force microscope has three degrees of freedom of movement comprising, the atomic force microscope comprising first and second anchors rigidly coupled to a substrate; first and second flexures coupled to the first and second anchors, respectively; a first plate coupled to the first flexure; a first drive actuator coupled to the first plate; an electrode coupled to the first plate; a second plate coupled to the first plate by a third flexure; a third plate coupled to the first plate by at least one structures, the third plate also being coupled to the second anchor by the second flexure; a second drive actuator located between the second and third plates; and a probe tip coupled to the second plate, wherein the first and second flexures and the first drive actuator provide a first degree of freedom, the electrode provides a second degree of freedom, and the third flexure and the second drive actuator provide a third degree of freedom.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein an electric potential across the second drive actuator is produced by applying an electric potential difference between the first and second anchors.

11. The apparatus of 10, further comprising a capacitance meter coupled to the first and second anchors, the capacitance meter sensing change in capacitance caused by deflection of the third flexure upon engagement of the probe tip with a sample.

12. The apparatus of 11, wherein a change in capacitance measured by the capacitance meter is used to determine at least one of deflection of the probe tip and force applied to the probe tip.

13. A self-calibrating apparatus comprising: a primary device fabricated on an integrated circuit chip, the primary device having at least one unknown property due to a fabrication process of the integrated circuit chip; a test structure fabricated on the same integrated circuit chip as the primary device, the test structure having the same material properties as the primary device so that the test structure also has the same at least one unknown property as the primary device; an electrical measurand sensor configured to measure an electrical measurand of the test structure; and a controller coupled to the primary device and electrical measurand sensor, the controller being configured to calculate the at least one unknown property of the test structure based on the measured electrical measurand, the controller using the calculated at least one unknown property to calibrate the primary device.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the primary device is one of a force sensor and a displacement sensor.

15. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the test structure is a sensor including at least one comb drive having an anchor, a guided plate, and first and second beams coupled between the anchor and the guided plate.

16. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the at least one unknown property comprises at least one of Young's modulus, density, stress, stain gradient, a geometrical error, viscosity, and stiffness.

17. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the unknown property is a difference between a layout of the sensor and an actual fabrication of the sensor on the integrated circuit chip.

18. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the controller calibrates the primary device by determining actual widths, gaps and lengths of the fabricated primary device based on the at least one unknown property calculated using the at least one measured electrical measurand.

19. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the electrical measurand is one of capacitance, voltage, and frequency.

20. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the electrical measurand is capacitance and the electrical measurand sensor measures the capacitance with at least an attofarad resolution.