Nanomechanical Testing System – Compression, Tensile and Fracture Tests

The FT-NMT03 Nanomechanical Testing System is a nanorobotic system for the accurate and direct, in-situ SEM/FIB measurement of the mechanical properties of nanostructures.

Testing principles such as tensile, compression, cyclic or fracture tests are enabled by applying a load with a microforce sensor onto the nanostructures while using position encoders to measure their deformation.

The material properties of these nanostructures are quantitatively determined from the resulting force-versus-deformation (stress-versus-strain) curves. Additionally, the combined electro-mechanical properties of nanostructures can be quantified through the combination with sample holders that feature electrical connections.

Complex sample preparation steps before the measurement are needed by most nanomechanical metrology applications. For this reason, the FT-NMT03 also features micro- and nanohandling capabilities using either force-sensing microgrippers or sharp, force-sensing tungsten tips, which enable the pickup, placing and attaching of nanostructures to a testing substrate.

This combination of nanohandling capabilities and electro-mechanical metrology provides a complete solution for most nanomechanical testing applications.

The FT-NMT03 Nanomechanical Testing System is available with compact dimensions that enable it to be used in combination with almost any full sized SEM/FIB. Mounting and unmounting of the system can be done in an effortless manner within a few minutes.

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3-Axis Testing Platform with 2-axis Sample Stage

The FT-NMT03 features a 3-axis nanopositioning platform with nanometer-resolution to mount the FT-G Microgrippers and FT-S Force Sensing Probes. The sample holder is a motorized, 2-axis rotation stage (pitch/jaw) for mechanical testing at varied angles.

All linear axes are provided with optical position encoders for automated measurement tasks and closed-loop operation. If needed, the rotational axes can also be equipped with encoders.

High Resolution Piezoscanner

Rapid and constant measurements with a resolution down to 0.05 nm are obtained with the help of a linear, flexure-based piezo-scanner with capacitive position feedback.

SEM Stub and Electrical Testing Module

Adapter units to mount the SEM stub at varied heights are provided in order to allow testing at the optical working distance of the SEM. In addition to the conventional SEM stubs, sample holders with electrical connections/pads are provided for simultaneous electrical and mechanical MEMS/NEMS testing.

Mounting Base and Electrical Feedtrough

Mechanical adapter bases and electrical feedtroughs are provided for almost any scanning electron microscope system.

FemtoTools Software Suite

The software suite for MS Windows enables plug-and-measure type nanomechanical testing (e.g. nanoindentation, compression/tensile testing, automated line/array measurements, creep testing, cyclic testing) and nanoassembly. A library based on NI LabVIEW for the development of customized micromechanical testing programs is also provided.

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Typical Applications

Micropillar/Nanopillar Compression Tests

For the development and the optimization of new, high-performance materials, in-situ SEM micropillar compression is a valuable tool as it allows the real-time visualization of the pillar during the load application.

Nanofiber Tensile Testing

The FT-NMT03 is designed for the tensile testing of nanofibers and microfibers. Typical in-situ SEM measurements include stiffness testing, cyclic testing and creep testing. Frequent characterization is carried out for the adhesion force of fibers in composite materials.

Testing of Capsules, Particles or Cantilevers

To understand the physical processes and also for the systematic development of new materials, in-SITU SEM compression tests on samples such as partical, cantilvers or microcapsules is performed. It is possible to combine and synchronize the nanomechanical testing with customized SEM detectors such as EBSD.

Electro-Mechanical MEMS/NEMS Testing

Regularly tested mechanical parameters of MEMS/NEMS include stiffness, topography, creep, yield strength, actuator force, deflection, hysteresis, adhesion force, Young’s modulus and linearity.

Microhandling and Microassembly

Microhandling is often used for sample preparation inside the SEM.

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