The rise of carbon nanotubes and nanowire electronics has led to increasing demand for characterization techniques applicable to nanoscale 1D materials. Materials of interest include metallic and semiconducting nanowires, 1D and 2D carbon-based materials, and biological materials such as single collagen fibers. 1D characterization techniques inherently require extremely high force resolution and also involve stringent demands for sample preparation and handling.
To address these concerns and provide a suitable testing platform, Bruker has developed the Push-to-Pull (PTP) device, an in-situ tensile apparatus designed to work in conjunction with the Hysitron PI Series PicoIndenter instruments for SEM and TEM. The PTP device is a consumable, MEMS-fabricated flexure device to which the 1D specimen can be mounted. Once prepared, the sample is transferred to the Hysitron PicoIndenter system and a quantitative tensile load is applied. Mechanical data is used to calculate tensile properties while simultaneous electron microscope imaging provides real-time video of the microstructure behavior. An electrical version of the device named the electrical Push-to-Pull (E-PTP) further expands the capabilities and enables four point electrical measurements throughout the tensile experiment.