The tribological interfaces in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) pose a significant hurdle in the advancement of MEMS. In order to gain a better understanding of these tribological interfaces, meaningful friction and wear measurements of MEMS devices must be made at loads and speeds relevant to MEMS operation. Devices containing isolated tribological contacts from which quantitative friction forces can be extracted have been developed. Since independent in-plane measurement of forces are not available for structures that are on the order of microns thick, the normal and tangential forces between structures are typically estimated based on the calculation of the force output of electrostatic actuators, and the force required to bend compliant suspensions. We will discuss the uncertainties associated with the measurement of applied and friction forces in MEMS tribometers, and metrology needs for improved tribological analysis of dynamic microsystems. We will also present a method of independent force calibration in these devices, and compare measured output characteristics with those predicted from mechanics and electrostatics.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.