With atomic-scale imaging and analytical capabilities such as electron diffraction and energy-loss spectroscopy, the transmission electron microscope has allowed access to the internal microstructure of materials like no other microscopy. It has been mostly a passive or post-mortem analysis tool, but that trend is changing with in situ straining, heating and electrical biasing. In this study, we design and demonstrate a multi-functional microchip that integrates actuators, sensors, heaters and electrodes with freestanding electron transparent specimens. In addition to mechanical testing at elevated temperatures, the chip can actively control microstructures (grain growth and phase change) of the specimen material. Using nano-crystalline aluminum, nickel and zirconium as specimen materials, we demonstrate these novel capabilities inside the microscope. Our approach of active microstructural control and quantitative testing with real-time visualization can influence mechanistic modeling by providing direct and accurate evidence of the fundamental mechanisms behind materials behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)