The FT-NMT04 is specially-designed to combine the study of the stress-strain response of materials not only with the observation of surface events, but also with EBSD, TKD and STEM characterization to gain unprecedented quantitative insight into phase transformation and dislocation dynamics. Micro-tensile testing, pillar compression and cantilever bending in correlation with EBSD enable to monitor and quantify dynamic phase transformations and strain localization. To further explore plasticity at the dislocation scale, micro-tensile testing of electron-transparent specimens and thin films can be performed in correlation with TKD and STEM detectors. After selecting a proper location in terms of microstructure and crystal orientation using SEM and EBSD, a specimen is extracted by focused-ion beam (FIB) machining and can be placed on a testing sample support such as the FemtoTools Nano-Tensile Testing Chip and secured using Ion (or electron) beam induced deposition. FIB carving and thinning of the micro-tensile specimen down to electron transparency is then performed with low voltage to minimize FIB damage and enable for STEM imaging.During loading, linear elasticity is observed first, before a plastic regime characterized by multiple load drop events and the final fracture of the specimen.
With true displacement control, fast data acquisition rate and ultra-high load and displacement resolution, the analysis of the amplitude and time of individual load drops is possible. In correlation with STEM images, it provides the characteristic load (down to less than 0.5 µN) attributed to specific plastic events. It gives the unique opportunity to study distinct dislocation interactions with lattice defects, such as Orowan bowing or shearing of precipitates by partial or full dislocations. It enables to build a statistical understanding of plastic localization mechanisms down to the dislocation scale.