SEM and FIB Measurements - FT-NMT03 Nanomechanical Tester

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

Testing principles such as tensile, compression, fracture, or cyclic tests can be enabled when a load is applied with a microforce sensor onto the nanostructures while using position encoders to calculate their deformation.

From the resulting force-versus-deformation (stress-versus-strain) curves, the material properties of these nanostructures are quantitatively determined. Additionally, through the combination with sample holders that feature electrical connections, it is possible to quantify the combined electro-mechanical properties of nanostructures.

Most nanomechanical metrology applications need complex sample preparation steps before the measurement process. Therefore, the FT-NMT03 also features micro- and nano-handling capabilities using either sharp, force-sensing tungsten tips or force-sensing microgrippers, which enable the pickup, placing and attaching of nanostructures to a testing substrate.

This combination of electro-mechanical metrology and nano-handling capabilities provides a complete solution for several nanomechanical testing applications.

Due to the compact dimensions of the FT-NMT03 Nanomechanical Testing System, the instrument can be used with almost any full sized SEM/FIB. The system can be easily mounted and unmounted in a matter of a few minutes.

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Three-Axis Testing Platform with Two-Axis Sample Stage

The FT-NMT03 has a three-axis nanopositioning platform with nanometer-resolution for the mounting of FT-G Microgrippers and FT-S Force Sensing Probes. The sample holder is a motorized, two-axis rotation stage (pitch/jaw) for mechanical testing at various angles. All linear axes are fitted with optical position encoders for automated measurement tasks and closed-loop operation. Optionally, it is possible to equip the rotational axes with encoders.

High Resolution Piezoscanner

A linear, flexure-based piezo-scanner designed with capacitive position feedback facilitates quick and continuous measurements with a resolution down to 0.05 nm.

Mounting Base and Electrical Feedtrough

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

SEM Stub and Electrical Testing Module

Adapter units for mounting the SEM stub at varying heights are provided to allow testing at the optical working distance of the SEM. In addition to the standard SEM stubs, sample holders with electrical pads/connections are provided for electrical and mechanical MEMS/NEMS testing at the same time.

FemtoTools Software Suite

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

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Typical Applications

Micropillar/Nanopillar Compression Tests

To optimize and develop new, high-performance materials, in-situ SEM micropillar compression is an important tool as it enables the real-time visualization of the pillar during the load application.

Nanofiber Tensile Testing

The tensile testing of microfibers and nanofibers is possible with the FT-NMT03. Typical in-situ SEM measurements include cyclic testing, creep testing, and stiffness testing. Additionally, the adhesion force of fibers in composite materials is often characterized.

Testing of Capsules, Particles or Cantilevers

For the organized development of new materials and for the understanding of physical processes, in-SITU SEM compression tests on samples such as microcapsules, particle, or cantilevers is performed. The nanomechanical testing can be integrated and synchronized with specialized SEM detectors such as EBSD.

Electro-Mechanical MEMS/NEMS Testing

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

Micro-handling and Micro-assembly

Micro-handling is often used for sample preparation inside the SEM.

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