In-situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has developed rapidly over the last decade. In particular, with the inclusion of scanning probes in TEM holders, allows both mechanical and electrical testing to be performed whilst simultaneously imaging the microstructure at high resolution. In-situ TEM nanoindentation and tensile experiments require only an axial displacement perpendicular to the test surface. However, here, through the development of a novel in-situ TEM triboprobe, other surface characterisation experiments are now possible, with the introduction of a fully programmable 3D positioning system.
Programmable lateral displacement control allows scratch tests to be performed at high resolution with simultaneous imaging of the changing microstructure. With the addition of repeated cyclic movements, both nanoscale fatigue and friction experiments can also now be performed. We demonstrate a range of movement profiles for a variety of applications, in particular, lateral sliding wear.
The developed NanoLAB TEM triboprobe also includes a new closed loop vision control system for intuitive control during positioning and alignment. It includes an automated online calibration to ensure that the fine piezotube is controlled accurately throughout any type of test. Both the 3D programmability and the closed loop vision feedback system are demonstrated here.