Pan, "A force measurement system based on an electrostatic sensing and actuating technique for calibrating force in a micronewton range with a resolution of nanonewton
scale," Measurement Science and Technology, vol.
This instrument, designed and developed at NIST, is capable of measuring nanonewton
forces applied to surfaces, and can measure spring constants with both good precision and accuracy, since it is SI traceable.
Koenders, "A nanonewton
force facility to test Newton's law of gravity at micro- and submicrometer distances," Annalen der Physik, vol.
They also allow researchers to determine the actuation forces down to the nanoNewton
regime, and elucidate electromechanical transfer functions of MEMS devices.
The very low loads of AFM (nanoNewtons
of force) and very small deformation into the sample (on the order of nanometers) are especially suited to characterize coatings mechanically, where other methods may typically suffer from the "substrate effect" in which substrate properties are convoluted into the measurement of the substrate properties.
They found that the two surfaces performed nearly identically, with the plastic coating generating an adhesive force of 201 nanoNewtons
(billionths of a Newton) and the leaf generating 207 nanoNewtons