Recent years have witnessed an increased demand for a method for precise measurement of the microstructures of mechanical microparts, microelectromechanical systems, micromolds, optical devices, microholes, etc.
This paper presents a measurement system for three-dimensional (3D) microstructures that use an optical fiber probe. This probe consists of a stylus shaft with a diameter of 2.5 µm and a glass ball with a diameter of 5 µm attached to the stylus tip. In this study, the measurement system, placed in a vacuum vessel, is constructed suitably to prevent adhesion of the stylus tip to the measured surface caused by the surface force resulting from the van der Waals force, electrostatic force, and liquid bridge force. First, these surface forces are analyzed with the aim of investigating the causes of adhesion. Subsequently, the effects of pressure inside the vacuum vessel on surface forces are evaluated. As a result, it is found that the surface force is 0.13 µN when the pressure inside the vacuum vessel is 350 Pa. This effect is equivalent to a 60% reduction in the surface force in the atmosphere.
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