Design of a high sensitivity capacitive force sensor

Kar Hang Chu, James K. Mills, William L. Cleghorn

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the design and development of a MEMS based, capacitive sensor for micro-force measurement. The sensor has an overall dimension of 3600 μm × 1000 μm × 10 μm and was fabricated using the Micragem fabrication process. A displacement reduction mechanism is incorporated in this sensor design to increase the sensitivity of the sensor. Analysis from Finite Element software, COMSOL, confirms that a 10:1 displacement reduction ratio is achievable with this mechanism. Simulation results show that the sensor is capable of measuring a maximum force input of 11 milli-Newton, resulting from a 20-μm displacement on the sensing structure. A 6-DOF manipulator and an evaluation board were used to experimentally verify the performance the sensor. Experimental results show that a capacitance change of approximately 175 to 200 fF can be observed from a 20-μm displacement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2007 7th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology - IEEE-NANO 2007, Proceedings
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event2007 7th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology - IEEE-NANO 2007 - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 2 Aug 20075 Aug 2007


Conference2007 7th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology - IEEE-NANO 2007
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong


  • Capacitive
  • Displacement reduction mechanism
  • Force sensor
  • MEMS
  • Micragem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of a high sensitivity capacitive force sensor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this