A self-calibrating optomechanical force sensor with femtonewton resolution

John Melcher, Julian Stirling, Felipe Guzmán Cervantes, Jon R. Pratt, Gordon A. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We report the development of an ultrasensitive optomechanical sensor designed to improve the accuracy and precision of force measurements with atomic force microscopy. The sensors reach quality factors of 4.3 × 106 and force resolution on the femtonewton scale at room temperature. Self-calibration of the sensor is accomplished using radiation pressure to create a reference force. Self-calibration enables in situ calibration of the sensor in extreme environments, such as cryogenic ultra-high vacuum. The senor technology presents a viable route to force measurements at the atomic scale with uncertainties below the percent level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number233109
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 8 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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