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In situ nanomechanical testing enables a combined acquisition and correlation of quantitative load-displacement data and live video data during the deformation of the material on the nanoscale. By means of this technique we are investigating various functional materials in the form of particles, nanowires, pillars, rods and thin films. Since there is an overall trend of device miniaturization, materials properties such as optical, electrical or mechanical have to adapted on the nanoscale, in order to make predictions of their later applications in advanced functional devices. In particular, the knowledge of mechanical properties such as the tensile and bending strength, and the elastic modulus of nanostructures is crucial, if one considers them for instance as members in next-generation electronic and electromechanical devices. Moreover, the direct access to imaging during in situ mechanical testing of nanostructures helps to reveal the deformation mechanisms, which are responsible for the strengthening or failure of the materials.

Selected publications

  • M. Mačković, F. Niekiel, L. Wondraczek and E. Spiecker Direct observation of electron beam induced densification and hardening of vitreous silica nanoballs by in situ transmission electron microscopy and finite element method simulations Acta Materialia (2014), 79: 363-373, DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2014.05.046
  • C. Schmid, V. Maier, J. Schaufler, B. Butz, E. Spiecker, S. Meier, M. Göken and K. Durst Highly resolved analysis of the chemistry and mechanical properties of an a-C:H coating system by nanoindentation and auger electron spectroscopy Thin Solid Films, 528, 263-268 (2013) , DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2012.05.092