MEMS Devices | Bruker


Quantitative Nanomechanical and Nanotribological Characterization of MEMS

The performance, repeatability, and reliability of microelectromechanical systems depend on the combined mechanical and tribological response of the individual materials comprising the device. As design processes become more complex, the ability to quantitatively measure and modify mechanical properties is required for designing new MEMS devices and shorten design timelines. The physical dimensions of materials used in MEMS devices allow bulk mechanical properties to be used as a starting point from which to work, but large variations can be observed over the nanoscale-to-microscale due to microstructure differences, residual stress, and surface/edge driven effects. Additionally, mechanical and tribological properties of thin films and small structures are oftentimes strongly affected by their processing history, such as deposition method, temperature, pressure, and etchant exposure. Considering the surface properties are frequently the determining factor in the performance of MEMS devices, quantitative nanomechanical and nanotribological characterization is critical for continued MEMS development.

MEMS Nanoindentation

Nanoindentation is a rapid means of obtaining quantitative nanoscale hardness and modulus values for materials used in MEMS devices. The ability to obtain properties with a high spatial resolution allows a direct mechanical characterization of thin films in a configuration representative of the devices final design. Additionally, nanoindentation techniques can be used to perform stiffness and fracture resistance characterization of compliant MEMS structures. Hybrid nanomechanical testing techniques, such as combining nanoindentation and electrical measurements, provides insight into electrical contact resistance evolution of micro contacts. Bruker’s suite of in-situ nanomechanical testing techniques provides a comprehensive understanding of nanoscale mechanical properties to engineer the next level of MEMS performance and device reliability.

MEMS Tribology

Motion at the microscale poses significant challenges when designing MEMS devices. Measuring, understanding, and optimizing the relationship between adhesion, friction, and wear is an important element of MEMS performance and reliability. Bruker’s tribological testing equipment provides quantitative measurements of nanoscale-to-microscale wear performance, friction characterization, and surface adhesive forces. These techniques are enabling scientists and engineers to understand tribological phenomena and develop novel coatings, lubricants, and surface treatments for enhanced MEMS functionality and durability. 

Application Notes

Standalone Test Equipment for MEMS Characterization

Hysitron TI 980 TriboIndenter | Bruker

TI 980 TriboIndenter

Bruker's most advanced nanomechanical and nanotribological test instrument, operating at the intersection of maximum performance, flexibility, reliability, sensitivity and speed.

Hysitron TI Premier | Bruker

TI Premier

Versatile nanomechanical and nanotribological test instrument, supporting a broad range of hybrid and correlative characterization techniques.

Hysitron TS 77 Select Nanoindenter | Bruker

TS 77 Select

Dedicated nanomechanical test instruments, providing an essential toolkit of core nanoscale mechanical characterization techniques.

Microscope Test Equipment for MEMS Characterization

Hysitron PI 85L SEM PicoIndenter | Bruker

PI 85L SEM PicoIndenter

Depth-sensing nanomechanical test instrument that can be interfaced with scanning electron microscopes (SEM).

Hysitron PI 8X SEM PicoIndenter BRUKER

PI 89 SEM PicoIndenter

Bruker’s comprehensive in-situ nanomechanical test instrument for SEM and FIB/SEM, featuring our full suite of techniques.

Hysitron PI 95 TEM PicoIndenter | Bruker

PI 95 TEM PicoIndenter

The first full-fledged depth-sensing indenter capable of direct-observation nanomechanical testing inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM).


Hysitron TS 75 TriboScope | Bruker

TS 75 TriboScope

Quantitative, rigid-probe nanoindentation and nanotribological characterization on your existing AFM.