micro force measurement; error analysis; uncertainty; reliability
Surface micromachining of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), like all other fabrication processes, has inherent variation that leads to uncertain material and dimensional parameters. By considering the effects of these variations during the design of micro force gauges, the gauge uncertainty and reliability can be estimated. Without means of calibrating micro gauges, these effects are often significant when compared to experimental repeatability. The general force gauge model described in this paper can be used to measure a wide range of forces, and simple design changes can lead to improved accuracy in measurement. A method of probabilistic design is described that is not limited to small beam deflections.