Nanoindentation – or “instrumented indentation” testing – is a quasi-static mode of nanomechanical analysis used to measure force response properties of very small, solid samples. Predominantly, this technique is used to measure the hardness and scratch resistance of sub-micron-scale regions of materials.
To make a nano-indent measurement, an indenter tip (made of a material necessarily much harder than the sample; commonly: diamond) is pressed into the sample surface with unknown mechanical response. A force is applied to the tip and is increased until it penetrates the surface to a user-defined stopping point, after which the force is stopped or sustained for a preset duration of time. The area and depth of the indentation in the sample are measured, typically using high-performance optical microscopy. These provide a metric for hardness, and can be used to interpolate Poisson’s Ratio, the Young’s Modulus, and Strain properties of the sample.
Nanoindentation is distinct from nano-scratch testing, in that it involves no lateral displacement.
Application Areas for Nanoindentation
Nanoindentation is a quick, straightforward way to access many mechanical properties of a material. It is widely used in thin-film industries, including semiconductors, electronics, packaging, coatings, depositions, thermal and electrical insulation, polymer chemistry, and metallurgy.
Measurements from Nanoindentation
- Deformation under Strain
USES & LIMITATIONS FOR Nanoindentation
- What it is great for:
- Mechanical analysis of thin-films and other nano-scale solids
- Hardness test for films > 50 nm
- Efficient data collection
- Minimal sample preparation
- Works best for linear, isotropic samples
- Soft materials and adhesives introduce measurement error
INSTRUMENTS we use for Nanoindentation
Bruker Hysitron TI Premier High- and Low-Force
These best-in-class nanomechanical testing tools provide customizable, high-accuracy, efficient measurements of a variety of nanoscale mechanical and tribological properties. A suite of customized modules facilitates analysis using quasi-static, dynamic, high-temperature and spatial mapping detection modes. With an ultra-precise, built in optical microscopy system and unique capacitative transducer technology, the TI Premier is the industry leader in nanomechanical testing technologies.