This device is a novel tensile testing instrument that can be used for in situ mechanical characterization of qualitative and quantitative properties of freestanding thin film materials inside scanning and transmission electron microscopes.
• How It Works
The product is a single crystal silicon chip containing the mechanisms for gripping a free-standing specimen, measuring the applied force and corresponding displacement of the specimen, minimizing the misalignment in the specimen, and measuring any residual stress in the specimen.
The device may be cofabricated with electrostatic (microelectromechanical systems) actuators, or it can be set up with commercial actuators to produce the required displacement.
The outputs of the device include the following: (1) mechanical properties of micron- and nanometer-scale thin film materials in uniaxial tension, tension-tension fatigue, and low- and high-temperature creep and (2) in situ qualitative and quantitative descriptions (simultaneous) of material deformation mechanisms for fundamental understanding of the behavior of materials on the micrometer or nanometer scale.
• Why It Is Better
This device was developed to overcome the existing limitations in current methods for studying properties of thin, freestanding films, specifically those of submicron thickness, relevant to microelectronics and micromachines.
Before this technology, no method existed that could: (a) ensure perfect gripping and aligning without putting pre-stress in the specimen; (b) apply the required force with required resolution for any film thickness; (c) measure the residual stress without any geometric assumptions; and, (d) perform simultaneous quantitative and qualitative in situ testing of materials in the TEM.
All conventional and modern micro-electronic and micromachine materials with size scale ranging from nano- to micro-scale can be tested.