A new surface probing technique using the circular motion of an optically-trapped microsphere is proposed for a nanocoordinate measuring system. The probe sphere is oscillated circularly in the plane perpendicular to the probe axis and the circular orbit of the probe sphere is monitored for the detection of the position and normal vector direction of the surface. The principle of detection is based on changes in the circular orbit of the microsphere. When the probe approaches a work surface, the orbit of the probe sphere becomes elliptical. The minor-axis length and the minor-axis angle of the ellipse are then used as parameters to detect the position and normal vector direction of the surface, respectively. In this study, the circular motion probe is shown to have a resolution of position detection of 39 nm, and the accuracy of measuring a normal vector to the surface is on the order of 3 °.
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