Nano-/ Micromechanics of Materials
Plasticity, fracture and fatigue are well known to determine the lifetime of technical components in daily-life applications (e.g. car engines, railroad wheels, jet-planes). A comprehensive understanding of life limiting mechanisms exists macroscopically. The ongoing trend for miniaturization of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and microelectronic components requires a proper knowledge of materials also at the micrometer length scale, which today is still lacking.
Thus, the scientific mission of our group is to extract mechanical properties of materials at the micro structural length scale and link the mechanical response with the initial and evolving defect structure. For this purpose, state of the art methods like in situ scanning electron microscopy, focused ion beam milling and in situ synchrotron diffraction are required. The experiments are either conducted in house or at world class laboratories like the ESRF, Grenoble, France. Typically, our sample sizes range from some tens of nanometers to ten micrometer, spanning almost three orders of magnitude. Main focus thereby lies on the response of individual single crystals, bi-crystals or selected interfaces.
Our experimental findings are cast into material models, which further allow for design guidelines and material laws dealing with the inherent stochastic nature of plasticity and fracture at the mesoscale.