Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Bryan D. Huey, Seok-Woo Lee, Ryan Rudy

Field of Study

Materials Science and Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) are increasingly at our fingertips. To understand and thereby improve their performance, especially given their ever-decreasing sizes, it is crucial to measure their functionality in-situ. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is well suited for such studies, allowing nanoscale lateral and vertical resolution of static displacements, as well as mapping of the dynamic response of these physically actuating microsystems. In this work, the vibration of a tuning fork based viscosity sensor is mapped and compared to model experiments in air, liquid, and a curing collagen gel. The switching response of a MEMS switch with nanosecond time-scale activation is also monitored – including mapping resonances of the driving microcantilever, the displacement of an overhanging contact structure in response to periodic pulsing, and measurements of the synchronization between the switched RF signal and the applied forces. Such nanoscale in-situ AFM investigations of MEMS can be crucial for enhancing modeling, design, and the ultimate performance of these increasingly important and sophisticated devices.

Major Advisor

Bryan D. Huey