Micro-scale cantilever beam specimens created by focused ion beam milling have been mechanically loaded in situ at room temperature to observe the deformation and fracture of single crystal silicon, nanocrystalline nickel and thermal barrier coatings with a multilayer structure. The micro-scale preparation technique allows cantilever beams to be selected from preferred positions in the samples so that specific mechanical properties can be evaluated. As a consequence these microstructural specific properties can be combined with direct observation of the response of the test specimen throughout the period of the test. The measured mechanical properties and response for the materials given above are discussed and compared with previously published data.
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