IN SITU SEM HIGH-THROUGHPUT CYCLIC TESTING OF FREESTANDING THIN FILMS
Alejandro BarriosGrand Ballroom B
This work presents a small-scale high-throughput technique to characterize the cyclic behavior of freestanding thin films. The technique consists of the microfabrication of a Si carrier composed of an array of grips and freestanding dogbone thin films and of the automated in situ Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) fatigue testing of the microfabricated carrier. The Si carrier functions as a nanomechanical testing device in which multiple dogbones can be simultaneously and independently tested under the same applied mechanical conditions. As a proof-of-concept, the fatigue behavior of nanocrystalline Al thin films was investigated. The technique allows for the simultaneous evaluation of crack nucleation and propagation across the fatigue life of several dogbones, facilitating the understanding of deformation mechanisms in nanocrystalline metals and providing statistically significant data. This technique reduces total testing time by orders of magnitude and allows for the investigation of the stochastic variability in fatigue failure. The current technique can be further expanded to account for different materials, new geometries and different loadings modes.