Skip to main content


Reference cantilever method developed

Trainee Achievements

Reference cantilever method developed

IGERT Fellow Scott Grutzik and his collaborator Richard Gates at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a reference cantilever method for measuring the stiffness of AFM cantilevers for use in nanoscale silicon fracture testing. This method provides reduced uncertainty over previously used methods. He also worked with Brian Bush and Frank DelRio (also at NIST) to coat Si nanobeam test specimens with self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Previous results have shown that strength of nanoscale silicon decreases with oxidation of the surface and initial strength can be maintained by coating the surface with a methyl monolayer to slow oxidation. Because the SAMs provide a thicker organic layer, they may prevent surface oxidation more effectively than a simple methyl layer. In addition, Scott used density functional theory to estimate the theoretical strength of silicon under the loading conditions experienced in his fracture experiments.