The nanoTensile 5000 automated test system represents a major addition to Hysitron’s nanomechanical instrument suite. Combining the most valuable aspects of Hysitron’s industry-leading mechanical test technology, the nanoTensile instrument enables simplified small-scale tensile testing by providing materials researchers with a state-of-the-art instrument which, in its design, inherently solves the various scale-related challenges that complicate the investigation of exceedingly small specimens. A customizable gripper and mounting platform interface accommodates application-specific tensile grippers as well as “pull test” arrangements for the characterization of small scale devices and materials.
• NT Head based on Hysitron’s award-winning 3D OmniProbe® technology.
• Extended force and displacement range enabled by dual-mode and dynamic operation.
• Automated specimen alignment improves test-to-test data consistency and reduces errors.
• Non-Z tensile data reveals additional subtle failure modes of inhomogeneous specimens.
The heart of the nanoTensile test instrument is the NT Head, based on award-winning 3D OmniProbe technology. Combining extremely accurate sensing and actuation capabilities in three dimensions, the NT Head, high-accuracy Z-stage and automated X-Y specimen platform operate in concert to provide a dual-mode tensile instrument with a range appropriate for the most demanding and wide ranging specimens. Finally, mechanical, acoustic and thermal isolation further improve nanoscale results utilizing a proven granite base, active vibration-canceling table and environmental enclosure.
Automated Specimen Alignment
The dominant challenge in working with small specimens (mm to sub-mm) is the difficulty in aligning the specimen to the tensile axis.
Figure 1. Nanotensile apparatus
1. NT Head: force range 100μN (<1.0μN noise floor) to 10N (70μN noise floor); 80μm displacement range with 0.2nm resolution in Small Strain Mode. NT Head also houses non-Z force sensors used for specimen alignment and failure analysis.
2. 150mm Z-stage with 100 nm resolution in Large Strain Mode.
3. Customizable gripper and specimen platform.
4. High-accuracy X-Y specimen stage enabling precision specimen alignment.
Peer-reviewed tensile test literature recommends that a given specimen must be aligned within 3-degrees of the tensile axis to achieve accurate stress-strain data.
This requires, for instance, that a specimen length of 1mm requires a non-Z-axis error of less than 5.3μm, or less than 53μm for a 10mm specimen – on the order of the specimen width. The nanoTensile instrument meets this challenge by automatically aligning the specimen without user intervention before the tensile test is executed. In addition, non-Z force data can be acquired during the execution of the test to provide additional information on the failure mode(s) of inhomogeneous specimens which are of special concern in applications such as biomaterials, multicomponent fibers and microsystems.
nanoTensile Software Interface
The Windows-based nanoTensile GUI is immediately familiar to existing Hysitron users and intuitive for new users. Software features include:
• Load and displacement control routines
• Automated specimen alignment information
• Automated X&Y data acquisition and analysis
• User-defined specimen geometries
• Automatic stress-strain and force-displacement data analysis capability
• Reduced experimental set-up time enables more experiments per unit time.
• Accuracy and repeatability of instrument eliminates excessive experimental repetition to obtain actionable, repeatable data.
• Automated specimen alignment reduces time consuming experimental set-up, experimental redundancy and provides researchers with “fool proof” tensile test execution.
• Non-Z data acquisition permits the researcher to thoroughly investigate atypical failure modes.
• Five orders of magnitude difference between maximum force and noise floor.
• Intuitive, Windows-based operation enables rapid proficiency in open-user environments.
• Single and multi-component nanocomposite fibers, textiles and plastics.
• Biomedical materials including sutures guidewires, signal wires and prosthetic and implantable components.
• Biological materials including blood vessels, muscles, tendons, organ tissues, skin and hair.
• Biomimetics investigations such as spider silk.
nanoPull Test Applications
• Stiction, adhesion, deflection and deformation of thin film systems comprising MEMS.
• Microelectronics interconnection components, including wire conductors, PCB traces, as well as solder, pad and wirebond adhesion.
• Biomedical coating, component and system interface adhesion assessments.
Figure 2. nanoTensile window showing tests parameters, specimen alignment target, stage controls and realtime data display