The Nanoindenter G200 made by Keysight (formerly Agilent) is an accurate, flexible, user-friendly instrument for nanomechanical testing. Electromagnetic actuation allows unparalleled dynamic range in force and displacement and measurement of deformation over six orders of magnitude (from nanometers to millimeters). This instrument can be employed to study a broad range of different materials, including metals, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and biomaterials.
The machine is capable of running a continuous stiffness (S) measurement (CSM). To be able to calculate hardness (H) and elastic modulus (E), the elastic stiffness of the contact must be known (S). Traditionally, S is determined from the slope of the load – displacement data acquired during unload. However, such a calculation enables determination of S (and thus H and E) only at the maximum penetration depth. The CSM enables a continuous measure of S during loading and not just at the point of initial unload. This is accomplished by superimposing a small oscillation on the primary loading signal and analyzing the resulting response of the system by means of a frequency-specific amplifier. With a continuous measure of S, hardness and elastic modulus as a continuous function of surface penetration can be obtained. The CSM option is especially useful for evaluating films on substrates, where the mechanical properties change as a function of surface penetration, and for polymers, where both the storage and loss modulus are important.
Additional specifications of the instrument provide for a displacement resolution of <0.01 nm with a maximum indentation depth of 2.0 um. The loading capability of the system is 500 mN with a load resolution of 50 nN and contact force of < 1.0 uN. The usable sample area is 100 x 100 mm width and a position accuracy of 1 micron. This usable sample area is broken down in (4) cylindrical pockets in the sample holder. Each pocket can be filled so as to run batch mode with a continuous data acquisition system.