We present two microinstruments for submicron scale material characterization. One of the instruments applies torsion on two single crystal silicon bars with square cross sections,1 and 2.25 μm2, until fracture. The maximum shear stress prior to fracture is found tobe 5.6 and 2.6 GPa, respectively. The second instrument applies tension on a composite (aluminum-silicon dioxide) beam, 1 × 1.5 μm2 in cross section. The beam fails at 220 μN.In both the experiments, the samples are designed, patterned, and cofabricated with the instruments. The microinstruments' small size, low thermal mass, vacuum compatibility, and built-in vibration isolation allow material characterization to be performed over a wide range of environmental conditions: high vacuum (electron microscopy and surface analysis), high humidity, high pressure, and high and low temperatures.