Experimental nanomechanics of 1D nanostructures
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Nanotechnology offers great promise for the development of nanodevices. Hence it becomes important to study the mechanical behavior of nanostructures for their use in such systems. MEMS (Micro ElectroMechanical Systems) provide an effective and precise method for testing nanostructures. Consequently this study focuses on the development of a MEMS thermal nanotensile tester to investigate the mechanical behavior of one-dimensional nanostructures. Extensive characterization of these MEMS devices (structural, electrical and thermal behavior) was performed using experimental as well as finite element methods. Tensile testing of nanostructures requires manipulation of individual nanostructures on the MEMS device. The study involves the development of an efficient methodology for the manipulation of nanowires and nanobeams for nanoscale testing. Furthermore, two different sensing schemes for the developed devices, namely capacitive and resistive, have been extensively investigated and the advantages and various issues related to both have been discussed. Nanocrystalline (nc) Ni nanobeams (typical dimensions of 500 nm x 200 nm x 20 µm) have been tested to failure using the MEMS devices. Improvements in the design for the MEMS nanotensile tester have been suggested to significantly enhance the device performance and to resolve the various issues involved with nano scale tests. Differential capacitive sensing for stress-strain measurements has been suggested to improve the accuracy of strain measurements.