Nanomaterials are those metals, ceramics, polymers or composite materials that have feature size in the nanometer scale. Due to this small feature size, a high proportion of atoms are located near interfaces such as grain boundaries, unlike bulk materials that have very few atoms close to boundaries. This produces materials with very different properties from the bulk material. For example, nanomaterials are being developed that combine existing ceramics, polymers, etc. with nanostructures to produce composites with amazing mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties.

There are many diverse applications – semiconductors/electronics, miniature batteries, solar cells, coatings, aerospace, medicine, and superconductivity. Their properties are diverse and for that reason a wide range of test capabilities are needed to evaluate these new materials.

Solartron Analytical’s range of materials test equipment is well suited to the range of extreme measurements that are often needed for the characterization of nanomaterials. Key elements of testing are frequency range, range of electrical stimulus, limits of impedance/permittivity/capacitance that can be resolved, accuracy of measurements (especially at extreme impedance levels), control of applied temperature, and use of appropriate sample holders.

Solartron’s Model 1260A Impedance Gain Phase Analyzer/Model 1296A Dielectric Interface System dielectric test equipment is widely referenced and utilizes the Model 1260A Impedance Gain Phase Analyzer's ability to measure impedance from 10 µHz to 32 MHz (over twelve decades of frequency), and combines that with the specific functionality of the Model 1296A Dielectric Interface System to make accurate dielectric measurements of ultra-high impedance materials (up to 100 Tohm) using sample/reference techniques. 

ModuLab-MTS Test System offers even more functionality including the possibility to analyze the non-linear characteristics of dielectric materials under high applied DC field conditions using its harmonic / multi-sine / FFT Fast Fourier Transform mode of operation, which is available over its entire impedance frequency range. This unique capability is made available due to the use of true frequency response analyzers that sample AC data at 40 MS/s providing non-aliased high frequency characterization of the materials under test.

In addition, ModuLab-MTS Test System has a wide range of option modules that allow testing of samples under high electric field DC and AC conditions, sensitive current measurement into the femto-amp region, accurate sample / reference mode measurement, temperature control options, and various application specific sample holders. 

ModuLab-MTS Test System also provides DC pulse and ramp techniques (I-V) and AC (permittivity, capacitance, impedance) capability in a single box, fully integrated with its high voltage, low current, and temperature option modules. The unique design of the ModuLab-MTS Test System allows it to operate over the full range of voltage and current provided by its option modules irrespective of whether it is running high field AC tests, high field non-linearity harmonic tests, or any of its DC or pulse I-V characterization techniques.

Temperature control options are available with the ModuLab MTS and 1260A/1296A that provides automatic PC control of the sample temperature and allows complete characterization of the material.