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Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1985149, 11 pages
Review Article

Recent Advances on In Situ SEM Mechanical and Electrical Characterization of Low-Dimensional Nanomaterials

1Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
2Centre for Advanced Structural Materials (CASM), Shenzhen Research Institute, City University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen 518057, China
3Centre for Robotics and Automation (CRA), Shenzhen Research Institute, City University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen 518057, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Yajing Shen and Yang Lu

Received 18 May 2017; Revised 29 August 2017; Accepted 1 October 2017; Published 25 October 2017

Academic Editor: Daniele Passeri

Copyright © 2017 Chenchen Jiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the past decades, in situ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has become a powerful technique for the experimental study of low-dimensional (1D/2D) nanomaterials, since it can provide unprecedented details for individual nanostructures upon mechanical and electrical stimulus and thus uncover the fundamental deformation and failure mechanisms for their device applications. In this overview, we summarized recent developments on in situ SEM-based mechanical and electrical characterization techniques including tensile, compression, bending, and electrical property probing on individual nanostructures, as well as the state-of-the-art electromechanical coupling analysis. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of in situ SEM tests were also discussed with some possible solutions to address the challenges. Furthermore, critical challenges were also discussed for the development and design of robust in situ SEM characterization platform with higher resolution and wider range of samples. These experimental efforts have offered in-depth understanding on the mechanical and electrical properties of low-dimensional nanomaterial components and given guidelines for their further structural and functional applications.