We report the development of an ultrasensitive optomechanical sensor designed to improve the accuracy and precision of force measurements with atomic force microscopy. The sensors reach quality factors of 4.3 × 106 and force resolution on the femtonewton scale at room temperature. Self-calibration of the sensor is accomplished using radiation pressure to create a reference force. Self-calibration enables in situ calibration of the sensor in extreme environments, such as cryogenic ultra-high vacuum. The senor technology presents a viable route to force measurements at the atomic scale with uncertainties below the percent level.

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