MEMS Scanning Probe with Three Degrees of Freedom

C. Hamm[1], and J.V. Clark[2]
[1]University of Portland, Portland, OR, USA,
[2]Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

In this paper, we present a computational study of a novel micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) scanning probe with three degrees of freedom (DOF). Such a probe is expected to be beneficial for nano and biotechnology research. For the past two decades, the atomic force microscope (AFM) has been successfully used in probing nanoscale phenomena. However, the accuracy of the AFM is unknown, it has a relatively large measurement uncertainty, it has a relatively small range of motion, it is nonportable, and it is expensive. Our present device is able to self-calibrate, it has a higher precision, it has a larger range of motion, it is portable, and it is inexpensive. Our MEMS scanning probe comprises both a 1DOF out-of-plane probe plus a 2DOF planar platform. Combining the two components together, we achieve 3DOF. Both the probe and platform use comb drives to actuate and sense forces and displacements. We computationally explore the design space and robustness of our MEMS scanning probe, and we compare the performance results against the conventional AFM with promising outcomes through the use of COMSOL.