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NanoMechanics Lab

Recalibrate your expectations

The new NanoMechanics Lab™ enables quantifiable viscoelastic nanoscale characterization extending from soft sticky hydrogels and composites to stiff metals and ceramics, allowing correlation to traceable measurements with nanoindentation and bulk DMA. A full set of advanced modes delivers precise force and frequency control for the most complete nanomechanics materials research, from sub-nanometer resolution investigations to highest-volume AFM measurements and data analyses.

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Complete Solution for Nanomechanical Characterization

Comprehensive NanoMechanics

Characterize nanomechanical properties of materials ranging from extremely soft hydrated materials to stiff metals and ceramics

With thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers and thousands of QC measurements per day in factories around the world, Bruker’s legacy of nanomechanical characterization solutions has been leading the world since our initial innovations in contact and tapping AFM technology in the 90s.


Today, Bruker's NanoMechanics Lab encompasses the full evolution of nanoscale AFM measurement techniques, including the well-established Force Volume and PeakForce QNM modes, as well as the new FASTForce Volume, FASTForce Volume Contact Resonance, and AFM-nDMA. Offering the most flexible force spectroscopy available, these modes can be combined to deliver huge data cubes, rendering a full array of elastic and viscoelastic data with great precision and repeatability ─ all in a single AFM system.

Calibrated Nanomechanics

The advent of Bruker exclusive probe manufacturing methods allows us to calibrate every AFM probe for spring constant and control tip shape and radius to rendering consistent high accuracy results. The new PeakForce QNM-HA product features new and easy to follow calibration steps along with expanded software capabilities in modeling and analysis to accommodate a wide variety of samples. Consistent, convenient, calibrated measurements.


Quantitative storage modulus, loss modulus, and loss tangent, measured at 100Hz, on quaternary polymer blend.

Exclusive Nanoscale Mechanical Measurement Modes


AFM-nDMA introduces quantitative nanoscale viscoelastic characterization of polymers, probing materials at rheologically relevant frequencies, in the linear regime.

Bulk viscoelastic characterization of polymers is traditionally performed with dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), operating at small strains to ensure a linear material response, at frequencies from below 1Hz to the low kHz range. In contrast, traditional AFM methods for viscoelastic characterization employ resonant methods that operate at much higher frequencies, and where Tapping Mode based methods are used, the tip-surface contact is made and broken at every cycle, a highly nonlinear process.

Bruker’s AFM-nDMA employs proprietary dual channel detection, phase drift correction, and reference frequency tracking, enabling a small strain measurement in the rheologically relevant 0.1Hz to 20kHz range, at the spatial resolution only AFM can provide. The measurement is embedded in a force curve, enabling contact radius quantification and oscillation in contact, combined with avoidance of lateral forces to enable resolution and reproducibility. The result are nanoscale measurements of storage modulus, loss modulus, and loss tangent that tie directly to bulk DMA, including construction of master curves, extraction of glass transition temperatures, and analysis for the activation energy using Arrhenius law. For the first time, AFM provides complete and quantitative viscoelastic analysis at the nanoscale.


PeakForce QNM

A vastly improved PeakForce QNM introduces a simple workflow to quantitatively characterize nanomechanical properties—including modulus, adhesion, dissipation, and deformation—while simultaneously imaging sample topography at atomic scale resolution. It is non-destructive to both tip and sample since it directly controls the peak normal force and minimizes the lateral force on the probe. PeakForce QNM enables routine quantifiable mechanical investigation of materials in the 1 kPa to 100 GPa range.

The combination of PeakForce QNM, precisely controlled tip geometry, and Bruker's frequency-calibrated probes enables routine measurements with the lowest uncertainty, while rendering results with high-resolution nanoscale mapping. By simply scanning the probe box QR code, selecting the specific probe number in the NanoScope software, and choosing between a touch or no-touch calibration, you're ready to start collecting truly quantitative nanomechanics measurements.


FASTForce Volume

FASTForce Volume improves the acquisition time of Force Volume mapping by >20x to measure mechanical properties of materials in the range of 1 kPa to 100 GPa. FASTForce Volume extends the operating frequency of linear ramps by > 400 Hz, closing the frequency gap between PeakForce QNM and the standard Force Volume mode. The overlap of operating frequencies facilitates nanomechanical correlative studies between modes, rendering greater measurement confidence while allowing investigation of property material frequency dependency.


FASTForce Volume modulus map of ternary polymer blend (PS, PP, PE) collected with a ramp rate of 122Hz. Bright areas are PS (modulus ~2.9GPa), dark areas are PE (modulus ~1.8GPa), matrix is PP (modulus ~1.9GPa).


FASTForce Volume Contact Resonance storage modulus (E’) maps demonstrating very consistent measurement of modulus over 40hours of measurements.  Sample is 50nm thick metal films of Al (left) and Cr (right) on Si (middle).

FASTForce Volume CR

Contact resonance is a powerful tool for nanomechanical measurements due to its ability to measure a wide range of moduli, including both elastic and viscoelastic properties. However, until now, the implementation of contact resonance has been hampered by slow imaging speed, complex analysis, and the requirement of specialized hardware for full spectrum acquisition.

FASTForce Volume CR resolves these limitations by combining resonant and non-resonant modes to obtain the most accurate mechanical data for stiff materials in the range of <1 GPa to >300 GPa. This enhanced capability is combined with the flexible, easy-to-use software of the widely-adopted FASTForce Volume platform. In contrast to other imaging-based contact resonance methods that are essentially contact mode, FASTForce Volume CR minimizes lateral forces on the tip to reduce sample damage, tip wear, and to generate many measurements from one probe.