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February 14, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Nanomechanics making great progress, doubling size in four years

We caught-up recently with John Swindeman, Chief Executive Officer of Nanomechanics, Inc., to get an update on the firm’s progress.  

For those who may not have read the original article, it is available at Nanomechanics was co-founded 1983 as Nano Instruments by long-time nanotechnology researcher Warren Oliver, who was also profiled in a two-part series available at and  

Swindeman, Oliver, and Kermit Parks founded Nanomechanics in 2009 . There’s been a good deal of progress in the ensuing four years.  

“We’ve doubled staff in that period,” Swindeman told us. The latest addition is Phani Pardhasaradhi, a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) with his doctorate in materials science and engineering. Swindeman added that Pardhasaradhi is the third or fourth researcher that Nanomechanics has hired who has studied under George Pharr.  

“When we separated from Agilent, our intention was to be a business to business company,” Swindeman explained. Nanomechanics did take a mechanical properties microprobe technology called InSEM with it.  

“People started calling us and asking for it,” so the company started offering its first generation of the device in 2010.  

The initial version was a SEM chamber-mounted device that included a screw drive manipulation mechanism.  

Swindeman explained that an InSEM is needed when visualization is important, “either of a test location, so you can see what you are targeting, or (when) you expect something to happen that you need to see and measure.” An example of the latter could be a test that involves bending a beam where you expect a crack to occur and need to analyze the results.  

The newest version of the InSEM was introduced last November at the Materials Research Society conference in Boston. It is designed for slightly different research uses, particularly those that require high temperatures up to 500C. The second iteration also “introduced a new form of manipulation,” incorporating something called a micropositioner. It replaced the screw drive, although Swindeman said both versions are available.  

“It (the newest InSEM) gives you a lot of flexibility,” he said. “We’re making a push this year to get it out there.”  

Those interested in learning more about the latest version of InSEM can view a video at (upper right corner of page).

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