A method is presented for characterizing properties of a specimen, such as a microstructure and a nanostructure. The method includes attaching a first end of the specimen to a first probe () and attaching a second end of the specimen, which is spaced apart from the first end by an intermediate portion, to a second probe that extends from a transducer (). The method also includes causing a corresponding displacement of the specimen attached between the first probe and the second probe (). At least one parameter associated with the specimen is acquired () during the corresponding displacement based on at least one output signal from the transducer. The properties of the specimen can be determined based on the at least one parameter ().