Hysitron Inc.

Stuttgart, Germany

Hysitron Inc.

Stuttgart, Germany

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Patent
Hysitron Inc. | Date: 2016-10-17

A multiple degree of freedom sample stage or testing assembly including a multiple degree of freedom sample stage. The multiple degree of freedom sample stage includes a plurality of stages including linear, and one or more of rotation or tilt stages configured to position a sample in a plurality of orientations for access or observation by multiple instruments in a clustered volume that confines movement of the multiple degree of freedom sample stage. The multiple degree of freedom sample stage includes one or more clamping assemblies to statically hold the sample in place throughout observation and with the application of force to the sample, for instance by a mechanical testing instrument. Further, the multiple degree of freedom sample stage includes one or more cross roller bearing assemblies that substantially eliminate mechanical tolerance between elements of one or more stages in directions orthogonal to a moving axis of the respective stages.


Patent
Hysitron Inc. | Date: 2014-08-01

An instrument changing assembly includes a magazine having one or more probe assembly stations. The assembly further includes at least one probe change tool including a receptacle socket. One or more probe assemblies are retained within the one or more probe assembly stations. The one or more probe assemblies each include a probe receptacle including a probe retention recess and a common socket fitting configured for complementary fitting with a common receptacle socket. The probe change tool is configured to install or extract the respective probes from a mechanical testing instrument according to the complementary fit between the common socket fitting and the common receptacle socket of the probe assemblies. Alternatively, the instrument changing assembly includes an instrument array housing including a plurality of instruments. Each of the one or more instruments (probe and transducer combination) are deployed relative to the instrument array housing with an instrument deployment actuator.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2016

Materials behavior is often dominated by highly localized phenomena, and the ability to probe those properties for engineering devices is critical. Often these devices are operating in environments with large differences in temperature and pressure: from the high vacuum and cold of space to the high temperature and high pressure inside a deep water oil well. Here, a transducer capable of measuring the nanomechanical properties under a wide range of temperatures and pressures is proposed, in conjunction with a rapid scanning stage, and variable pressure chamber for the mapping of material properties from cryogenic to 1000˚C and from milliTorr to kiloTorr. This will combine cutting edge data acquisition, thorough system calibration, and transducer design in Phase I, for the production of a next generation nanomechanical measurement instrument occurring in Phase II. Scanning probe modes will include quantitative stiffness/modulus mapping, force-volume, conductance, and thermal resistance mapping. Stiffness mapping will be achieved using a small amplitude force and displacement signal to measure the true contact stiffness/modulus. Force-volume measurements will be performed using the throw integral to the transducer, allowing approach distances as high as a micrometer or as low as a few nanometers. Conductance mapping can be achieved by biasing the sample or the probe, while thermal resistance and simple calorimetry are accomplished using a very low mass thermal sensor. In addition, the system will be capable of nanomechanical testing in both forward (indentation, compression) and reverse (tensile) modes. Many researchers in energy related fields have expressed a clear need for state of the art technology instrumentation to study the limits of materials. The broader impacts of such an SPM platform proposed here is that researchers from a variety of research areas; catalysis, mechanics of materials under extreme conditions, solid oxide fuel cells, and solar cells, will be able to utilize these new capabilities.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

The ages of men have been defined by the materials that make up the tools we use, from the ancient stone and iron ages to the modern nuclear and silicon ages. Over these ages, man’s knowledge has been built upon previous observations. The base of this materials knowledge is understanding the relationships between structure- processing-properties-performance. The top of this pyramid is systematic understanding, rather than just phenomenological observations. To further this understanding; modern methods of structural and chemical analysis are used in correlation with each other, connecting this information to the materials properties. This correlation can be tedious and time consuming when moving samples between multiple techniques, often mounted on microscopes with vastly different probing methodologies. Rather than clogging a single microscope with all possible tools, it is often more cost and time effective to be able to move the sample between the microscopes. Here a closed-loop, miniaturized, five axes stage is proposed to aid in correlative microscopy. This stage will utilize a locking mechanism, which attaches to the microscope stage. Once the sample is mounted, the user will utilize the 3-D reference symbols, and with the aid of image correlation will calibrate the position. Reference symbols are designed to be compatible with multiple microscopy techniques, including scanning probe (AFM), optical, and scanning electron (SEM). The position reference allows for rapid calibration of the sample position in X, Y, Z, rotation and tilt using translation and rotation matrices. The total accuracy of positioning will be limited by the propagation of error in the individual positions. This stage will utilize optical closed loop encoders with resolution limits of 5 nm in X, Y, and Z, and less than 3.5 milliradians in tilt and rotation. Once the reference is defined, the user will be able to move immediately to the areas of interest via positions saved in the controller. The addition of tilt and rotation to the standard three axes is a requirement for imaging of non-planar features, such as particles, from a multitude of angles thus aiding 3-D reconstruction or to orient the sample erpendicularly towards a wide range of sources or detectors. A manipulator, planned for Phase II, will maneuver a sharpened W wire via adjustments in extension, rotation, and tilt across the sample for purposes of marking or manipulation. The W wire can also be biased such that it can be used as a voltage or current probe. The sample plane will be covered by a sealing lid, which can be closed and opened in the vacuum chamber, to prevent contamination. The system will simplify and enhance access to multiple microscopes easing workflow and positional calibration requirements for correlating microscopy techniques. The system stability enhances usability for in situ experimentation or sample manipulation in addition to simply acting as a transferable, contamination resistant, closed loop positioning stage.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2015

Materials behavior is often dominated by highly localized phenomena, and the ability to probe those properties for engineering devices is critical. Often these devices are operating in environments with large differences in temperature and pressure: from the high vacuum and cold of space to the high temperature and high pressure inside a deep water oil well. Here, a transducer capable of measuring the nanomechanical properties under a wide range of temperatures and pressures is proposed, in conjunction with a rapid scanning stage, and variable pressure chamber for the mapping of material properties from cryogenic to 1000C and from milliTorr to kiloTorr. This will combine cutting edge data acquisition, thorough system calibration, and transducer design in Phase I, for the production of a next generation nanomechanical measurement instrument occurring in Phase II. Scanning probe modes will include quantitative stiffness/modulus mapping, force-volume, conductance, and thermal resistance mapping. Stiffness mapping will be achieved using a small amplitude force and displacement signal to measure the true contact stiffness/modulus. Force-volume measurements will be performed using the throw integral to the transducer, allowing approach distances as high as a micrometer or as low as a few nanometers. Conductance mapping can be achieved by biasing the sample or the probe, while thermal resistance and simple calorimetry are accomplished using a very low mass thermal sensor. In addition, the system will be capable of nanomechanical testing in both forward (indentation, compression) and reverse (tensile) modes. Many researchers in energy related fields have expressed a clear need for state of the art technology instrumentation to study the limits of materials. The broader impacts of such an SPM platform proposed here is that researchers from a variety of research areas; catalysis, mechanics of materials under extreme conditions, solid oxide fuel cells, and solar cells, will be able to utilize these new capabilities. Summary for Members of Congress: Materials engineering is backbone of the new industrial revolution, providing the structure to American products; from advanced semiconductors, fuel cells, and batteries to nanocomposite tires and single crystal turbine blades. A high temperature, variable pressure nanomechanical SPM provides researchers the equipment required for 21st century materials exploration.


Patent
Hysitron Inc. | Date: 2014-06-25

An automated testing system includes systems and methods to facilitate inline production testing of samples at a micro (multiple microns) or less scale with a mechanical testing instrument. In an example, the system includes a probe changing assembly for coupling and decoupling a probe of the instrument. The probe changing assembly includes a probe change unit configured to grasp one of a plurality of probes in a probe magazine and couple one of the probes with an instrument probe receptacle. An actuator is coupled with the probe change unit, and the actuator is configured to move and align the probe change unit with the probe magazine and the instrument probe receptacle. In another example, the automated testing system includes a multiple degree of freedom stage for aligning a sample testing location with the instrument. The stage includes a sample stage and a stage actuator assembly including translational and rotational actuators.


Patent
Hysitron Inc. | Date: 2014-08-06

An automated testing system includes systems and methods to facilitate inline production testing of samples at a micro (multiple microns) or less scale with a mechanical testing instrument. In an example, the system includes a probe changing assembly for coupling and decoupling a probe of the instrument. The probe changing assembly includes a probe change unit configured to grasp one of a plurality of probes in a probe magazine and couple one of the probes with an instrument probe receptacle. An actuator is coupled with the probe change unit, and the actuator is configured to move and align the probe change unit with the probe magazine and the instrument probe receptacle. In another example, the automated testing system includes a multiple degree of freedom stage for aligning a sample testing location with the instrument. The stage includes a sample stage and a stage actuator assembly including translational and rotational actuators.


Patent
Hysitron Inc. | Date: 2013-03-13

An objective testing module includes a module base configured for coupling with an objective turret of a microscope. The objective testing module includes a mechanical testing assembly. The mechanical testing assembly is configured to mechanically test a sample at macro scale or less, and quantitatively determine one or more properties of the sample based on the mechanical testing. The mechanical testing assembly optionally includes a probe and one or more transducers coupled with the probe. The transducer measures one or more of force applied to a sample by the probe or displacement of the probe within the sample. In operation, an optical instrument locates a test location on a sample and the objective testing module mechanically tests at the test location with the mechanical testing assembly at a macro scale or less. The mechanical testing assembly further determines one or more properties of the sample according to the mechanical test.


An environmental conditioning assembly for use in mechanical testing at scales of microns or less. The assembly includes an enclosure housing with an environmental cavity therein. A sample stage is positioned within the environmental cavity and includes an option sample heater. The enclosure housing includes a cavity perimeter clustered around the sample stage, and the enclosure housing isolates the environmental cavity and the sample stage from an environment exterior to the enclosure housing. In an example, an expansion and contraction linkage maintains a sample on the sample stage at a static elevation according to heating or cooling fluctuations within the environmental cavity. A testing instrument access port extends through the enclosure housing into the environmental cavity.


Patent
Hysitron Inc. | Date: 2015-11-23

A sub-micron scale property testing apparatus including a test subject holder and heating assembly. The assembly includes a holder base configured to couple with a sub-micron mechanical testing instrument and electro-mechanical transducer assembly. The assembly further includes a test subject stage coupled with the holder base. The test subject stage is thermally isolated from the holder base. The test subject stage includes a stage subject surface configured to receive a test subject, and a stage plate bracing the stage subject surface. The stage plate is under the stage subject surface. The test subject stage further includes a heating element adjacent to the stage subject surface, the heating element is configured to generate heat at the stage subject surface.

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