Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 47–54

A Multi-step Method for In Situ Mechanical Characterization of 1-D Nanostructures Using a Novel Micromechanical Device


DOI: 10.1007/s11340-009-9222-0

Cite this article as:
Lu, Y., Ganesan, Y. & Lou, J. Exp Mech (2010) 50: 47. doi:10.1007/s11340-009-9222-0


A novel micromechanical device was developed to convert the compressive force applied by a nanoindenter into pure tensile loading at the sample stages inside a scanning electron microscope or a transmission electron microscope, in order to mechanically deform a one-dimensional nanostructure, such as a nanotube or a nanowire. Force vs. displacement curves for samples with Young’s modulus above a threshold value can be obtained independently from readings of a quantitative high resolution nanoindenter with considerable accuracy, using a simple conversion relationship. However, in-depth finite element analysis revealed the existence of limitations for the device when testing samples with relatively low Young’s modulus, where forces applied on samples derived from nanoindenter readings using a predetermined force conversion factor will no longer be accurate. In this paper, we will demonstrate a multi-step method which can alleviate this problem and make the device capable of testing a wide range of samples with considerable accuracy.


Micromechanical deviceIn situ NanoindenterFEA1D nanostructure



Micro-electro-mechanical systems


Finite element analysis


Scanning electron microscope


Transmission electron microscope


Atomic force microscope




Silicon on insulator

Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceRice UniversityHoustonUSA