Nanoindenting, Scratching, and Wear Testing with the Atomic Force Microscope
Nanoindentation is an option for Digital Instruments MultiMode and Dimension; Series Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPMs). Using TappingMode; AFM and an AFM diamond tip mounted to a metal-foil cantilever, you can indent a surface and immediately image the indentation. This eliminates the need to move the sample, switch AFM tips, relocate the indenting area for scanning, or use an entirely different instrument to image the indentation. Although indentation cantilevers have higher spring constants than typical imaging cantilevers, it is still possible to image soft samples with relatively low forces. This is possible using TappingMode AFM, which requires less force to image a sample than does contact mode AFM. The diamond tips are sufficiently sharp to provide good image resolution.