Nanomechanical testing encompasses a comprehensive set of techniques for determining a broad set of mechanical properties at sub-micrometer length scales. Indentation testing has been utilized for over a century to determine the hardness of materials. Advances in indentation-based mechanical testing over the past decades has enabled quantitative characterization of many additional material parameters at the nanoscale; such as elastic modulus, viscoelastic properties, creep and stress relaxation behavior, interfacial adhesion, and fracture toughness. The ability to quantitatively measure mechanical properties at the nanoscale has been critical for making revolutionary advances in materials development.
The importance in understanding and controlling unique material behavior at the nanoscale goes far beyond thin films and low dimensional materials. The ability to quantitatively characterize and tailor the mechanical properties of individual microstructures/phases/constituents/interfaces in bulk materials has brought on a new era of structure–properties relationships to be exploited. Bruker has developed the broadest suite of nanomechanical testing techniques for quantitative characterization of nanoscale mechanical properties.