Nanoindentation involves a variety of hardness tests applied to small volumes, and is perhaps the most commonly applied means of testing mechanical properties of materials. MRL’s suite of nanoindentation machines go beyond the traditional quasistatic nanoindentation to serve a great variety of testing needs.

Nanoindentation Equipment

Equipment Name Contact Location
Equipment Name Contact Location
The Optics 11 Life Piuma system jcspear kawalsh 0013 Supercon

The Optics 11 Life Piuma soft materials nanoindenter uses cantilever-based nanoindentation (similar to AFM force curves) to determine the Young’s modulus of samples ranging from a few tens of Pascals to 1 GPa. The Piuma is generally more user-friendly and versatile to work with than a traditional AFM, especially for biological samples, without compromising data quality. Operation in air or fluid and automated grids of indentations are simple to set up. Probes are constructed with spherical borosilicate glass tips ranging from 6 – 500 µm diameter (similar to colloidal probe AFM design).

(Please inquire in advance whether your samples satisfy the biosafety level requirements of the MRL).

Sample Conditions Supported by the Piuma:

  • Dry, Wet, or Submerged in Liquid
  • Size range: From 100 µm diameter to 12 mm on a side
  • Shape: Flat, curved, complex topography, porous
  • Young’s Modulus / Stiffness range: 5 Pa to 1 GPa

Piuma Technical Specifications

  • Probe Tip Sizes: 6 – 500 µm diameter borosilicate spheres
  • Probe Cantilever Spring Constant: k = 0.03 N/m – 150 N/m
  • Force Sensitivity Range: 1 nN – 2 mN
  • Maximum Piezo Motor Displacement: 20 µm
  • Stage Motors (X,Y,and Z-axes): 1 µm minimum, 12 mm maximum displacement
  • Single Indentation or Surface Mapping
  • Automated Find Surface
  • Measurement Mode: Quasi-Static (Closed Loop Piezo Motor Displacement)
  • Camera: 10x magnification, overhead view
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Hysitron TI-950 TriboIndenter jcspear kawalsh 0013 Supercon

The Hysitron TI 950 TriboIndenter at the Materials Research Laboratory is a versatile instrument with capabilities beyond traditional quasistatic nanoindentation. In addition to a standard transducer which can apply micronewton-to-few-mN loads over a displacement range of several micrometers, a high load transducer allows indents to be made at loads of up to 2.8 N over a displacement of up to 90 microns.

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