Micrometer-Scale Tensile Testing of Biological Attachment Devices


  • The authors thank Dr. Stephan Kleindiek and Klaus Schock of Kleindiek Nanotechnik GmbH, Reutlingen, Germany, for the successful collaboration in the development of the MM3A-based force-measuring device.


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Using a focused ion beam system as an in situ laboratory for sample preparation, fixation, and testing at the micrometer scale, the mechanical properties of microscopic biological and technical samples can be measured in tension, bending, and compression. Samples such as individual hairs of the brush-like attachment systems of insects and geckos (see figure), natural and biomimetic spider silk, and carbon nanotubes can be measured with this method.