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With the rapid progress of micro- and nanoscale fabrication technology, devices are continually being created which produce extremely small forces. This creates a distinct need for a measurement instrument and adequate calibration techniques which can resolve forces below 1 μN. Two calibration methods for force balance measurements in the nano-Newton range are presented. These methods are based on a free molecule gas dynamic expansion through a thin-walled orifice and the electrostatic actuation of a miniature comb drive. Due to the advantages and disadvantages of every calibration technique, multiple techniques are often required to validate performance results for microscale devices. Because these calibration techniques typically rely on completely different physical processes and can be described by different sets of analytical equations, the comparison of one technique to another is necessary when high accuracy is required. The gas dynamic and electrostatic force calibration techniques have been compared and were found to agree to within 8% for force levels between 35 nano-Newtons and 1 μN. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.