Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Engineering - Materials Engineering


Materials Engineering


Richard Savage


The design and implementation of a micro-force displacement system was completed to test the force-displacement characteristics of square silicon diaphragms with side lengths of 4mm, 5mm, and 7mm with a thickness of 10um. The system utilizes a World Precision Instruments Fort 10g force transducer attached to a World Precession Instruments TBM4M amplifier. A Keithley 2400 source meter provided data acquisition of the force component of the system. A micro prober tip was utilized as the testing probe attached to the force transducer with a tip radius of 5um. The displacement of samples was measured using a Newport M433 linear stage driven by a Newport ESP300 motion controller (force readings at constant displacement intervals). An additional 3 linear stages were used to provide X and Y-axis positioning of samples beneath the probe tip. The system components were mounted to an optical bench to provide stability during testing. C# was used to deliver the code to the individual components of the system. In addition the software provides a graphic user interface for future users that includes a calibration utility (both X/Y and force calibration), live force-displacement graph, motion control, and a live video feed for sample alignment. Calibration of the force transducer was accomplished using an Adam Equipment PGW153e precision balance to assign force values to the voltage data produced from the transducer. Displacement calibration involved the use of a microscope calibration micrometer. The system was characterized with an equipment variability of ±1.02mg at 1.75um, and ±1.86mg at 3.5um with the ability to characterize samples with stiffness less than 279 mg/um. The displacement resolution of the system was determined to be 35 nm per step of the linear stages. The diaphragms created to test the machine were fabricated from 10um thick device layer SOI wafers. An etch consisting of 38g/l silicic acid, 7g/l ammonium persulfate, and 5% TMAH was used to reduce the formation of hillocks, and provide a consistent etch rate. A Gage R&R study was performed on the fabricated diaphragms, indicating that the deflection produced by the 4mm, 5mm, and 7mm diaphragms was resolvable by the machine. A model was developed to correlate theoretical results to the observed measured values.