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Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Indicative Project

Characterising quartz tuning forks in different mechanical configurations

Background Info

​A quartz tuning fork (QTF) is one of the most frequency stable resonators at room temperature.

Due to its exceptional piezo-electric characteristics, robustness and size, it is widely used as a sensor for different applications. For example, QTFs are used as a force sensor in dynamic non-contact atomic force microscopy (AFM). The operation of the AFM will depend on the configuration and corresponding characteristics of the force sensor, i.e., the QTF.

Therefore, to obtain optimal performance of the force sensor, a systematic characterisation of QTFs in different mechanical configurations is required.

Project Description

​This project aims to characterise and compare the mechanical and electrical properties of QTFs in different mechanical configurations.

Development and implementation of mechanical designs will be required for QTF characterisation in these different configurations. The QTFs will be characterised using electrical and/or optical methods to measure resonant frequencies, Q-factors, sensitivities, and spring constants.

Mapping the stability of a phase-locked loop containing different QTF configurations in response to changing control input parameters will also be investigated.

Examples of Relevant Sudent Courses

Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nanotechnology, Physics, Science

Student Level

3rd Year, Honours


3 to 6 months


Lindfield (NSW)



Desirable Skills

Electronic and mechanical design interest; some experience with LabVIEW


Bakir Babic

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