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ZHN/SEM - Nanoindenter for Scanning Electron Microscope

The ZHN/SEM is a complete nanoindenter that was especially developed for the application in the narrow conditions of the vacuum chamber of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The measuring head has a new design principle which realizes a much better force resolution. Further, the force range can be adapted to customer wishes over a wide span. It will not be mounted at the wall of the vacuum chamber but directly on the sample stage of the Scanning Electron Microscope or a similar instrument. In this way the existing tilting and moving capabilities of the original stage can be used. A mounting at the chamber wall is also possible with a slightly modified version. One big enough free flange of the chamber is required for the electrical feed through.

An optional part of the instrument is a high resolution piezo stage system for sample movement relative to the indenter tip in XY-direction and a stiff mechanical stage for moving the head in Z-direction towards the sample surface. This stage system is always necessary, if the head is mounted on the SEM stage.

Special inductive displacement transducers (LVDTs) are used as sensors for the force and displacement measurement. The force is generated by a piezoelectric element and measured by the deflection of springs. It is possible to stop an experiment for image acquisition using a special pause function and to continue the programmed measuring process afterwards. During the pause, force or displacement is further controlled.

A special feature of the head is its application in push and pull direction over the complete force range. The ZHN/SEM can therefore be used as a conventional nanoindenter as well as micro compression and tensile tester. It allows observing the deformation processes during an experiment with high resolution.