© G. Geelen, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

Equipment and Facilities

The Department Structure and Nano- / Micromechanics of Materials employs dedicated techniques and advanced facilities, which are organized in five laboratories.

Advanced Transmission Electron Microscopy

The SN department utilizes the following transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques:

  • Conventional TEM imaging and selected area electron diffraction
  • Electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and energy-filtered TEM (EFTEM) imaging
  • Aberration-corrected scanning TEM (STEM) in combination with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and EELS
  • In-situ heating and in-situ nanoindentation
  • In-situ liquid flow cell holder


Probing material properties at the micron scale requires dedicated machines and setups for sample manufacture, sample testing, and in situ as well as post mortem defect analysis. Within the past three years capabilities to produce and deform micron and submicron sized samples had been built up:


  • Ga-focused ion beam (FIB) system operated between 5keV to 30keV
  • Nano patterning and visualization engine (NPVE, Fibics Inc, Ottawa, Canada) with full access to the beam control to shape complex patterns

Miniaturized mechanical testing:

  • Home-build indentation systems for synchrotron beamlines without obstructing the x-ray beam and for operation inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
  • Nanoindenter holder for the transmission electron microscope (TEM)

Nanoindentation and Nanotribology laboratory

Nanoindentation and –tribology rely on measuring nanometer displacements inside a Keysight G200 with the following options:

  • Normal force measurements: resolution 1µN, maximum 0.5N
  • Normal displacement measurements: resolution 1nm, maximum 1.5mm
  • Positional accuracy: coarse 3µm for 200mm travel; fine 10nm for a 100 µm travel
  • Lateral force measurement: maximum: 0.25N
  • Electrochemical cell with three electrodes and high accuracy potentiostat

Typical experiments:

  • Young’s modulus and hardness measurements
  • Materials: bulk, thin films on substrate, micrometer sized phases in bulk
  • Topographic scanning of surface
  • Hydrogen embrittlement
  • Friction and scratch experiments of metals

Thermal Analysis and Electron Probe Microanalysis facility

For thermal analysis the following techniques are available:

  • Differential thermal analysis (DTA) between 77 K and 2000 K
  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
  • Thermomechanical analyzer (TMA) up to 1400 K
  • Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) in synthetic air up to 1850 K

Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) by wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (WDS) focusses on

  • Chemical compositions of individual phases
  • Concentration profiles, segregations, element mapping


The X-ray laboratory is equipped with five different diffractometers. In 2012 the complete laboratory infrastructure was recently reorganized in a single x-ray lab. The laboratory equipment is continuously updated. Two new diffractometers were installed in 2019 and a new device will be installed in spring 2023

A wide range of X- ray techniques are possible:

  • phase analysis (qualitative and quantitative)
  • residual stress analysis
  • texture analysis
  • characterization of thin layers
  • XRD measurements during load or heat

The x-ray laboratory could handle different sample geometries:

  • powder samples
  • constructive parts (maximum weight 10kg)
  • small solid samples (minimum beam diameter 0.7mm)
  • thin layers
  • single crystals
  • weld samples
Go to Editor View