Asylum Research NanoIndenter integrates with AFM optical detector

July 19, 2006
July 19, 2006, Santa Barbara, CA--Asylum Research has unveiled its NanoIndenter module for use with the company's MFP-3D atomic-force-microscope (AFM) system. The NanoIndenter is a tool for materials research that allows controlled physical contact and elastic and inelastic deformation of a nano-sized area of a specimen (a triangular nanoindent can be seen in the figure).

July 19, 2006, Santa Barbara, CA--Asylum Research has unveiled its NanoIndenter module for use with the company's MFP-3D atomic-force-microscope (AFM) system. The NanoIndenter is a tool for materials research that allows controlled physical contact and elastic and inelastic deformation of a nano-sized area of a specimen (a triangular nanoindent can be seen in the figure).

The NanoIndenter is the first commercially available product to bridge the gap between conventional nanoindenters and AFMs, according to Asylum Research. Unlike cantilever-based nanoindenters (AFMs), the NanoIndenter drives the nanoindenting tip perpendicular to the sample. And unlike conventional nanoindenters, tip displacement and force are measured with the MFP-3D AFM's optical detector and the company's (patent-pending) nanopositioning sensors. The combination results in high force and positioning sensitivity, allowing repeatable imaging, quantitative feature measurement, reliable and accurate imaging offsets, quantitative force curves, and very precise positioning for manipulation and lithography.

"The user can measure forces and displacements with near-AFM precision while avoiding the nonorthogonality issues that plague cantilever-based indentation measurements," said Flavio Bonilla, product manager for the NanoIndenter. "This integration means that users can easily image the indenter tip itself and characterize its shape. The software scripting ability native to the MFP-3D environment also makes this product ideal for scientists automating measurements or working on new ways of characterizing materials."

Measurements and surface characterization can be done on many different materials, including thin films, coatings, polymers, and others. The NanoIndenter is well-suited for a variety of applications, including the elastic and inelastic behavior of materials; dislocation phenomena; fractures in ceramics; mechanical behavior of metals, thin films, ceramics, bone, biomaterials, residual stresses; and time-dependent mechanical characteristics in soft metals and polymers. The NanoIndenter easily fits on the MFP-3D AFM head for easy viewing of the sample. It is available in two models, standard and low-force. The module comes with three standard sample mounts, small, medium, and large.

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