Micromechanical devices have a wide range of applications in the near future. Therefore it is important to study their long-term behaviour under various conditions and environments. We introduce atomic force microscopy as a comprehensive tool in reliability study of MEMS devices. Mechanical properties of micromechanical structures can be characterized with high accuracy. Real-time monitoring of these properties during accelerated ageing tests gives information about the long-term stability of the structures. The AFM is a versatile instrument for predicting long-term operating of micromachined devices in a convenient way without building complicated experimental set-ups.
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