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Nanoscale In Situ Mechanical Testing Stage

National Laboratories:Los Alamos
Characterization:Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Microscopy

Mechanical properties unattainable via bulk testing can be explored and quantified with small-scale testing. For example, mechanical behavior of individual interfaces, small-scale particles, and low volume fraction secondary phases in a material can be evaluated by in situ mechanical probing of micron- to nano-scale gradient microstructures within an electron microscope.

Capability Bounds

Testing sample dimensions must be within the mesoscale or less, in the range of less than 100 µm.

Unique Aspects

Measuring grain-level mechanical response, which is critical for validating and guiding microstructure-based models, is provided using a full suite of capabilities housed in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Material Physics and Applications (MPA) and Materials Science and Technology (MST) divisions.

Availability Testing facilities are available though LANL’s Center for

Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) user program and coordination with the capability expert.


  • N. Li, N.A. Mara, J. Wang, P. Dickerson, J.Y. Huang, A. Misra, “Ex situ and in situ measurements of the shear strength of interfaces in metallic multilayers”. Scripta Mater. 67 (2012) 479-482.
  • N. Li, N.A. Mara, Y.Q. Wang, M. Nastasi, A. Misra, “Compressive flow behavior of Cu thin films and Cu/Nb multilayers containing nanometer-scale helium bubbles”. Scritpa Mater. 64 (2011) 974-977.
  • W. Mook, J.K. Baldwin, R.M. Martinez, N.A. Mara, SEM in situ MiniCantilever Beam Bending of U-10Mo/Zr/Al Fuel Elements.

Information Link(s)


Nathan A. Mara