In recent years, downscaled coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are in demand and bring challenges to the development of micro/nanoscale probes for a variety of microscale structure measurement applications. A working prototype apparatus is developed in which a microspherical optical fiber probe tip is created from a strand of standard single mode silica optical fiber using an electric discharge technique. The Taguchi method has been used to investigate the general effects of probe fabrication conditions that result in controllable fabrication of a quality probe tip. With proper control of the process parameters, spherical optical fiber probe tips with the desired diameters in the range of 133–360 μm with a diameter variance within 3% and minimum spherical tip center offset of about 2.2 μm have been achieved. An economical and flexible technique for the fabrication of a quality microspherical probe for micro/nano-CMM application is developed in this work.

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