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InSEM Microprobe

InSEM Microprobe

The InSEM is a tool for characterizing the mechanical properties of surfaces or structures, which is designed to function with sub-nanometer resolution in an in-situ vacuum environment such as an SEM or FIB.The SEM/FIB environment has been called “the lab of the future.”  Any test you can imagine in an macro-lab environment has unique advantages, and some applications are just not possible without the targeting or visualization capabilities of the SEM.

  • • Pillars
  • • MEMS
  • • Micro-targeting
  • • Pile-up & sink-in
  • • Tensile specimens
  • • Indentation
  • • Particle crush
  • • Micromanipulation

The InSEM is designed to seamlessly integrate high-resolution mechanical testing capabilities into the “lab of the future.”


The InSEM is designed to be modular and flexible, to enable a wide range of applications.  Port availability on SEM/FIB chambers is often an issue.  We've designed the InSEM to mount to a variety of ports, or to be mounted directly on the SEM stage.  As different applications call for different system configurations, the InSEM can easily be moved from one port to another, or assembled into the on-stage configuration.

Nanomechanics, Inc.
 provides a variety of tools for use in mechanical properties testing for the SEM/FIB or vacuum environment.  All of our devices and software are designed to be modular, easy-to-use, and high-performance.  Many of the testing and characterization techniques are based on the highly cited paper, W. C. Oliver and G. M. Pharr, “An improved technique for determining hardness and elastic modulus using load and displacement sensing indentation experiments”, J. Mater. Res., Vol. 7, No. 6, pp. 1564-1583 (June 1992), which forms the basis for nanoindentation measurements of Hardness and Modulus.  However, the InSEM has great capabilities and is being used for compression and tensile testing more common to tradition tensile testers and DMA testers.  All testing techniques offer the ability watch the deformation as it happens.

InForce 50

The Nanomechanics InForce actuators utilize patent-pending voice-coil force generation and capacitive displacement resolution to achieve the best dynamic range in the industry. With 50mN of force, the InForce 50 enables a wide range of compressive, tensile, and indentation testing. The dynamic characteristics of the head mean that low-noise, stability, and closed-loop control are inherent to the design, whether operating in quasi-static or dynamic modes


InView Software
Nanomechanics' InView software provides the user with exceptional control of the experiment, while removing complex control tasks to the background for ease-of-use and rapid ramp-up time for new users. InView integrates the SEM video and the nanomechanical data for complete synchronization. Reviewing data is simple, and InView makes it easy to generate presentation-ready plots immediately.

InQuest Controller

Nanomechanics' InQuest Controller provides quasi-static and dynamic control in the same compact footprint enclosure, which can be run by laptops or all-in-one computers. InQuest can acquire data at speeds up to 100 kHz. With an industry-leading dynamic range, displacement ranges of over 50 microns can be measured with precision below 0.05nm.



Nanomechanics, Inc.'s scientists have developed and used dynamic measurement techniques for over twenty-five years. Operating nanomechanical actuators in a dynamic mode allows for continuous 
measurement of contact stiffness, or continuous dynamic analysis of viscoelastic properties such as storage and loss




The InSEM utilizes the InForce 50, InQuest Controller, and InView Software in a tool for in-situ SEM, FIB, or vacuum characterization of the mechanical properties of surfaces or structures. The InSEM I and InSEM II mount to your SEM/FIB chamber wall to minimize the footprint within the chamber, and to make it easy to retract the system out of the way while other SEM/FIB testing modes are underway.



The InSEM III utilizes a stage-mounted cradle and micropositioners to position a sample relative to the InForce actuator. Designed to maximize frame stiffness while optimizing positioning resolution, the InSEM III provides versatile on-stage testing capabilities for applications in which the on-chamber configuration is limiting.



The Nanomechanics InSEM HT provides 500°C isothermal heating of the InForce tip and sample for the InSEM in-situ mechanical properties microprobe. Independent control of the tip and sample temperatures is integrated with multi-location thermocouple feedback, active cooling, and of course the precision and dynamic range of the mechanical test system itself.