A new miniaturised probe made of monocrystalline silicon with an integrated piezoresistive measuring bridge combines high scanning rates and low scanning force. The force-dependent deflection causes a change in the mechanical voltage, which is evaluated piezoresistively.
Robust against different environmental influences, the sensor closes a gap between AFM and a classical stylus instrument.
The robustness of the sensor and its signal against the influences of light and temperature changes, electrosmog as well as against dust and process aids such as drilling oils allow the use under production conditions, e.g. directly in the machining area of machine tools.
Initial tests in an industrial production environment have been successful. Here, the cutter of the tool head, after the machining process, was replaced by the probe tip module and moved up to the freshly milled workpiece (without replacing it!) to record the surface profile “slice by slice” in-situ.
The MEMS microprobe is particularly suitable for bores and undercuts that cannot be measured with either an AFM or a profilometer. The low contact force required also enables the non-destructive measurement of plastic components, e.g. micro-optical structures.