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PD Dr.-Ing. habil. Benoit Merle
Mikromechanik und Dünnschichten
Raum 3.19 Telefon +49 9131 85-27473
Raum IZNF 02.170 Telefon +49 9131 85-70456

Scientific Career

Benoit Merle graduated with distinction from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France in 2005. After spending a few years as an engineer with Siemens AG, he joined the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in order to pursue a PhD on the mechanical behavior of thin films. He obtained his doctorate degree (Dr.-Ing.) with distinction in 2013 (advisor: Prof. M. Göken) and went on to establish the nanomechanics and thin films research group which he currently leads. He spent the summer 2018 at Texas A&M university on an extended research stay with Prof. George Pharr. Back in Erlangen, he completed his habilitation in the field of materials science in May 2019.

Research Focus

Benoit Merle strives to develop new micromechanical methods and apply them to metallic and ceramic materials in order to improve our understanding of size effects on the mechanical properties. His main focus lies on nanoindentation and the mechanical testing of freestanding thin films.


He is the author or co-author of >35 publications in international peer-reviewed journals - as listed below - and has also given numerous invited presentations at major international conferences (TMS, DPG, ESMC...). The quality of his work has been acknowledged by the young researcher awards that he has received from the German materials society (DGM) and the Staedtler Foundation. He has also received 3 teaching awards for his lectures at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and has been a member of the board of studies for the nanotechnology curriculum since 2015.



  • Merle B. Creep Behavior of Gold Thin Films Investigated by Bulge Testing at Room and Elevated Temperature. (2019) Journal of Materials Research, 34(1), pp. 69-77. Open access view

  • Hou X., Krauß S., Merle B. Additional grain boundary strengthening in length-scale architectured copper with ultrafine and coarse domains. (2019) Scripta Materialia, 165(1), pp. 55-59. View at publisher

  • Böhm C.F., Feldner P., Merle B., Wolf S.E. Conical nanoindentation allows azimuthally independent hardness determination in geological and biogenic minerals. (2019) Materials, 12(10), pp. 1630. Open access view

  • Bykov M., Chariton S., Fei H., Fedotenko T., Aprilis G., Ponomareva A., Tasnádi F., Abrikosov I., Merle B., Feldner P., Vogel S., Schnick W., Prakapenka V., Greenberg E., Hanfland M., Pakhomova A., Liermann H.P., Katsura T., Dubrovinskaia N., Dubrovinsky L. High-pressure synthesis of ultraincompressible hard rhenium nitride pernitride Re2(N2)(N)2 stable at ambient conditions. (2019) Nature Communications, 10, pp. 2994. Open access view

  • Fischer C., Merle B., Drummer D. Realization of homogeneous properties for thin-walled components by means of dynamic temperature control. (2019) Journal of Plastics Technology, 15(5), pp. 354-368. Open access view

  • Preiß E.I., Lyu H., Bitzek E., Liebig J.P., Richter G., Gannott F., Gruber P.A., Göken M., Merle B. Microstructural Dependence of the Fracture Toughness of Metallic Thin Films: A Bulge Test Study on Single Crystalline and Polycrystalline Silver Films (2019) Journal of Materials Research, in press. Open access view

  • Merle B., Higgins W.H., Pharr G.M. Critical Issues in Conducting Constant Strain Rate Nanoindentation Tests at Higher Strain Rates (2019) Journal of Materials Research, accepted. Open access view


  • Merle B., Höppel H.W. Microscale High-Cycle Fatigue Testing by Dynamic Micropillar Compression Using Continuous Stiffness Measurement. (2018) Experimental Mechanics, 58(3), pp. 465-474. View at publisher

  • Preiß E.I., Gannott F., Göken M., Merle B. Scaling of the fracture toughness of freestanding metallic thin films with the yield strength (2018) Materials Research Letters, 6(10), pp. 607-612. Open access view

  • Liebig J.P., Krauß S., Göken M., Merle B. Influence of stacking fault energy and dislocation character on slip transfer at coherent twin boundaries studied by micropillar compression. (2018) Acta Materialia, 154, pp. 261-272. View at publisher

  • Khansur N.H., Eckstein U., Benker L., Deisinger U., Merle B., Webber K.G. Room temperature deposition of functional ceramic films on low-cost metal substrate. (2018) Ceramics International, 44, pp. 16295-16301. View at publisher

  • Feldner P., Merle B., Göken M. Superplastic deformation behavior of Zn-22% Al alloy investigated by nanoindentation at elevated temperatures. (2018) Materials & Design, 153, pp. 71-79. View at publisher

  • Merle B., Kraus X., Tallawi M., Scharfe B., El Fray M., Aifantis K.E., Boccaccini A.R., Göken M. Dynamic Mechanical Characterization of Poly(Glycerol Sebacate)/Poly(Butylene Succinate-Butylene Dilinoleate) Blends for Cardiac Tissue Engineering by Flat Punch Nanoindentation. (2018) Materials Letters, 221, pp.115-118. View at publisher


  • Merle B., Maier-Kiener V., Pharr G. M. Influence of modulus-to-hardness ratio and harmonic parameters on continuous stiffness measurement during nanoindentation. (2017) Acta Materialia, 134, pp. 167-176. View at publisher

  • Mikschl F., Merle B., Baum M., Heberle J., Göken M., Schmidt M. Micromechanical characterization of laser consolidated nanoparticle ITO layers. (2017) Thin Solid Films, 642, pp. 214-18. View at publisher

  • Ghanem M., Göken M., Merle B. Plane-strain bulge testing of thin films under compressive residual stresses. (2017) Surface and Coatings Technology, 327, pp. 167-173. View at publisher

  • Vierneusel B., Benker L., Tremmel S., Göken M., Merle B. Isolating the effect of residual stresses on coating wear by a mechanical stress relaxation technique. (2017) Thin Solid Films, 638, pp. 159-166. View at publisher

  • Shrestha S., Fischer R., Matt G. J., Feldner P., ... Merle B., ... Brabec C. High-performance direct conversion X-ray detectors based on sintered hybrid lead triiodide perovskite wafers. (2017) Nature Photonics, 11(7), 436-440. View at publisher

  • Preiß E. I., Merle B., Göken M. Understanding the Extremely Low Fracture Toughness of Freestanding Gold Thin Films by In-situ Bulge Testing in an AFM (2017) Materials Science and Engineering: A, 691, pp. 218-225. View at publisher

  • Feldner P., Merle B., Göken M. Determination of the strain-rate sensitivity of ultrafine-grained materials by spherical nanoindentation (2017) Journal of Materials Research, 32(8), pp. 1466-1473. View at publisher

  • Fischer C., Seefried A., Merle B., Göken M., Drummer D. Influencing hardness and wear during the dynamic tempered microinjection molding process by considering isothermal holding time (2017) Polymer Engineering and Science, 57 (2), pp. 121-128. View at publisher


  • Merle B., Nicholson K.S., Herbert E.G., Göken M. An improved method for point deflection measurements on rectangular membranes (2016) Materials and Design, 109, pp. 485-491. View at publisher

  • Ast J., Merle B., Durst K., Göken M. Fracture toughness evaluation of NiAl single crystals by microcantilevers - A new continuous J-integral method (2016) Journal of Materials Research, 31 (23), pp. 3786-3794. View at publisher or full text on OPUS

  • Liebig J.P., Göken M., Richter G., Mačković M., Przybilla T., Spiecker E., Pierron O.N., Merle B. A flexible method for the preparation of thin film samples for in situ TEM characterization combining shadow-FIB milling and electron-beam-assisted etching (2016) Ultramicroscopy, 171, pp. 82-88. View at publisher

  • Javed H., Merle B., Preiß E., Hivet R., Benedetto A., Göken M. Mechanical characterization of metallic thin films by bulge and scratch testing (2016) Surface and Coatings Technology, 289, pp. 69-74. View at publisher


  • Merle B., Cassel D., Göken M. Time-dependent deformation behavior of freestanding and SiNx-supported gold thin films investigated by bulge tests (2015) Journal of Materials Research, 30 (14), pp. 2161-2169. View at publisher or full text on OPUS


  • Merle B., Göken M. Bulge fatigue testing of freestanding and supported gold films (2014) Journal of Materials Research, 29 (2), pp. 267-276. View at publisher or full text on OPUS

  • Merle B., Maier V., Durst K. Experimental and theoretical confirmation of the scaling exponent 2 in pyramidal load displacement data for depth sensing indentation (2014) Scanning, 36 (5), pp. 526-529. Open access view


  • Maier V., Merle B., Göken M., Durst K. An improved long-term nanoindentation creep testing approach for studying the local deformation processes in nanocrystalline metals at room and elevated temperatures (2013) Journal of Materials Research, 28 (9), pp. 1177-1188. View at publisher or full text on OPUS

  • Tallawi M., Rai R., R-Gleixner M., Roerick O., Weyand M., Roether J.A., Schubert D.W., Kozlowska A., Fray M.E., Merle B., Göken M., Aifantis K., Boccaccini A.R. Poly(glycerol sebacate)poly(butylene succinate-dilinoleate) blends as candidate materials for cardiac tissue engineering (2013) Macromolecular Symposia, 334 (1), pp. 57-67. View at publisher


  • Merle B., Maier V., Göken M., Durst K. Experimental determination of the effective indenter shape and ε-factor for nanoindentation by continuously measuring the unloading stiffness (2012) Journal of Materials Research, 27 (1), pp. 214-221. View at publisher or full text on OPUS

  • Merle B., Schweitzer E.W., Göken M. Thickness and grain size dependence of the strength of copper thin films as investigated with bulge tests and nanoindentations (2012) Philosophical Magazine, 92 (25-27), pp. 3172-3187. View at publisher

  • Durst K., Rehman H.U., Merle B. Comment to paper "penetration depth and tip radius dependence on the correction factor in nanoindentation measurements" by J.M. Meza et al. [J. Mater. Res. 23(3), 725 (2008)] (2012) Journal of Materials Research, 27 (8), pp. 1205-1207. View at publisher

  • Meszaros R., Merle B., Wild M., Durst K., Göken M., Wondraczek L. Effect of thermal annealing on the mechanical properties of low-emissivity physical vapor deposited multilayer-coatings for architectural applications (2012) Thin Solid Films, 520 (24), pp. 7130-7135. View at publisher


  • Merle B., Göken M.Fracture toughness of silicon nitride thin films of different thicknesses as measured by bulge tests (2011) Acta Materialia, 59 (4), pp. 1772-1779. View at publisher or use preprint

  • Meszaros R., Wild M., Merle B., Wondraczek L. Flexural strength of PVD coated float glass for architectural applications (2011) Glass Technology: European Journal of Glass Science and Technology Part A, 52 (6), pp. 190-196. View at publisher

If you would like to access full-text of my publications for scholarly purposes, feel free to send me an informal request here.

Researcher identifiers

  • ORCID record

  • Google Scholar profile

  • Clarivate Publons record

  • Researchgate profile

  • Group pictures

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2019 (Rickshaw riding at lake Brombach)

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2019 (Rickshaw riding at lake Brombach)

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2018 (Aerial adventure park)
    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2018 (Aerial adventure park)

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2017 (Disco-golf)
    Nanomechanics and Thin Films Group in 2017 (Disco-golf)

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2016 (Escape room)
    Nanomechanics and Thin Films Group in 2016 (Escape room)

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2015 (Segway)
    Nanomechanics and Thin Films Group in 2015 (Segway)

    Nanomechanics and Thin Film Group in 2014 (Canoeing)
    Nanomechanics and Thin Films Group in 2014 (Canoeing)