Comparison of electrostatic and photon pressure force references at the nanonewton level

Gordon A Shaw, Julian Stirling, John Kramar, Paul Williams, Matthew Spidell, Richard Mirin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This work describes a metrological comparison between nanonewton force references derived from an electrostatic force balance (EFB) and photon pressure from laser optical power in the 1 Watt range. An EFB is used to measure photon pressure force in the 10 nanonewton range from the reflection of a laser from a low (approximately 10−5) loss III–V semiconductor distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) mirror while the power of the reflected beam was simultaneously monitored with a traceable thermopile detector. This work demonstrates a method to link mass, force and laser power within the international system of units (SI) with explicit treatment of absorption, diffuse reflection, and a detailed uncertainty analysis. Additionally, it demonstrates a viable method to scale this force continuously using a pulsed laser technique while maintaining the constant thermal load necessary for precision measurement of nanonewton forces with a mechanical balance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2019


  • force
  • metrology
  • photon pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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