Nanomechanical Characterization

Multi-directional mechanical testers for the nano to milli-Newton force range


FT-NMT03 Nanomechanical Testing

Product Image of the FT-NMT03

The FT-NMT03 Nanomechanical Testing System is a nanorobotic system for the direct and accurate, in-situ SEM/FIB measurement of the mechanical properties of nanostructures. Testing principles such as compression, tensile, cyclic or fracture tests are enabled by applying a load with a microforce sensor onto the nanostructures while using position encoders to measure their deformation.

From the resulting force-versus-deformation (stress-versus-strain) curves, the material properties of these nanostructures are quantitatively determined. Furthermore, through the combination of sample holders that feature electrical connections, the combined electro-mechanical properties of nanostructures can be quantified.

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Most nanomechanical metrology applications require complex sample preparation steps prior to the measurement. For this reason, the FT-NMT03 also features micro- and nanohandling capabilities using either force-sensing microgrippers or sharp, force-sensing tungsten tips, which enable the pickup, placing and attaching of nanostructures to a testing substrate. This combination of electro-mechanical metrology and nanohandling capabilities provides a complete solution for most nanomechanical testing applications.

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

Femto Tools FT-NMT03 close-up

5-axis (x, y, z, rotation, tilt) sample alignment

The FT-NMT03 features a 3-axis nanopositioning platform with nanometer-resolution for the mounting of FT-S Force Sensing Probes and FT-G Microgrippers. The sample holder is a motorized, 2-axis rotation stage (pitch/jaw) for mechanical testing at different angles. All linear axes are equipped with optical position encoders for closed-loop operation and automated measurement tasks. Optionally, the rotational axes can be equipped with encoders also.

High-Resolution Piezoscanner

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

Components for the Femto Tools FT-NMT03

SEM Stub and Electrical Testing Module

Adapter units for mounting the SEM stub at different heights are provided to enable testing at the optical working distance of the SEM. Besides the standard SEM stubs, sample holders with electrical pads/connections are provided for simultaneous electrical and mechanical MEMS/NEMS testing.

Mounting Base and Electrical Feedthrough

We provide mechanical adapter bases and electrical feed troughs for almost any scanning electron microscope system.

Accessories for FT-NMT03

FT-S Microforce Sensing Probe

The newest generation of FemtoTools FT-S Microforce Sensing Probes is microforce sensors capable of measuring forces from 200 millinewtons (0.2 N) down to sub-nanonewtons (10-9 N) along the sensor’s probe axis. Both compression and tension forces can be measured. The outstanding long-term stability and low signal drift guarantee significantly higher measurement accuracy than any other force sensing system in this force range. The accuracy of the FemtoTools SI-traceable calibration process is ensured by comparative measurements with the Swiss National Institute of Metrology (METAS).

Image of the FT-S Microforce Sensing Probe Accessory for Femto Tools FT-NMT03

Sensor Tip Options

  • Flat silicon tip with a tip size of 50 µm by 50 µm
  • Pointy tungsten probe tip with a tip radius smaller than 5µm, 2µm or 0.1µm
  • Diamond nanoindenter tips (e.g. Berkovich, Conical, customized geometry)







Force Range ±200µN ±2’000µN ±20’000µN ±200’000µN
Resolution @10Hz 0.0005 µN 0.005 µN 0.05 µN 0.5 µN

FT-G Force Sensing Microgripper

The FT-G Microgripper series is designed to handle objects ranging from 0.001 mm to 0.1 mm. The initial openings of the gripper arms are 30 μm and 100 μm. Typical applications include sample preparation and micro assembly tasks (pick-and-place).

The gripper opening can be controlled with nanometer precision, such that the gripper arms are fully closed upon applying the maximum actuation signal. Due to the electrostatic actuation principle, the gripper arms do not heat up.

Image of the FT-G Force Sensing Microgripper Accessory for Femto Tools FT-NMT03

The FT-G103 and the FT-G33 feature an integrated force sensor for closed-loop control of the gripping force (unique on the market). This enables the handling of fragile samples, the detection of (un)successful gripping, the detection of objects size and the measurement of the mechanical properties of the sample to be picked-up.




Opening 0-100µm 0-30µm
Force Sensor Yes Yes
Min. Order Quantity 5 5

Software for FT-NMT03

FemtoTools Software Suite

The software suite for MS Windows enables plug-and-measure type nanomechanical testing (e.g. Compression/tensile testing, nanoindentation, cyclic testing, creep testing, automated line/array measurements) and nanoassembly. A library based on NI LabVIEW for the creation of customized micromechanical testing programs is provided as well.