Departmental Papers (MSE)

Document Type

Journal Article

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The recent interest in size-dependent deformation of micro- and nanoscale materials has paralleled both technological miniaturization and advancements in imaging and small-scale mechanical testing methods. Here we describe a quantitative in situ nanomechanical testing approach adapted to a dualbeam focused ion beam and scanning electron microscope. A transducer based on a three-plate capacitor system is used for high-fidelity force and displacement measurements. Specimen manipulation, transfer, and alignment are performed using a manipulator, independently controlled positioners, and the focused ion beam. Gripping of specimens is achieved using electron-beam assisted Pt-organic deposition. Local strain measurements are obtained using digital image correlation of electron images taken during testing. Examples showing results for tensile testing of single-crystalline metallic nanowires and compression of nanoporous Au pillars will be presented in the context of size effects on mechanical behavior and highlight some of the challenges of conducting nanomechanical testing in vacuum environments.


Suggested Citation:
Gianola, D.S. et al.In situ nanomechanical testing in focused ion beam and scanning electron microscopes. Review of Scientific Instruments. 82, 063901.

© 2011 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Review of Scientific Instruments. and may be found at



Date Posted: 15 June 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.