Hysitron PI 85xR SEM PicoIndenter - In-Situ Nanomechanical Testing for SEM

Hysitron’s PI Series SEM PicoIndenter® instruments are depth-sensing mechanical test systems designed to be interfaced with scanning electron microscopes (SEMs).

With these systems it is possible to perform quantitative nanomechanical testing while simultaneously imaging with the SEM. Coupling these two techniques allows the researcher to position the probe extremely accurately and to image the deformation process throughout the test.

The PI 85xR SEM PicoIndenter offers higher maximum loads and displacements than the standard PI 85 while maintaining industry-leading noise floors, effectively bridging the gap between nano- and micro-scale.

The system features peak loads of >100 mN and displacements up to 150 µm. The increased normal force range of the PI 85xR has been designed to accurately test dimensionally large and/or hard structures which require larger loads to induce failure, fracture, or yield.

The larger displacement range also facilitates testing of compliant samples such as polymers or organic materials. With indentation probes available in an array of geometries, the system is versatile enough to be used for most high force/high displacement testing regimes.


  • Quantitative measurement of nanomechanical properties including hardness, stiffness, and modulus

  • Extended load and displacement range for inducing yield in large and/or hard structures

  • Unique piezo loading/capacitive sensing system offers superior stability and low thermal drift

  • Modes of mechanical testing include indentation, compression, bend, and tensile

  • Proprietary Q-Control mode actively dampens transducer oscillations

  • Transducer controlled using the performech® DSP-embedded controller operating at a 78 kHz feedback rate

  • Optimized for SEM with vacuum compatible transducer and electrically conductive probe

  • Interchangeable probes available in a variety of geometries to meet the demands of different test types

  • Feedback control to allow testing techniques such as creep and stress relaxation measurement

  • Compact platform for maximum stage tilt and minimum working distance

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