TriboScope® Quantitative Nanomechanical Testing for Atomic Force Microscopes From Hysitron Incorporated

Topics Covered


Quantitative Results

In-situ SPM Imaging

Available Testing Modes


Upgrade Options



The TriboScope nanomechanical test instrument utilizes an in-situ Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) imaging capability to realize the benefits of SPM imaging and quantitative nanoindentation in a single system. The synergy offered by interfacing the industry-leading sensitivity of the Hysitron transducer to an SPM provides superior testing capabilities previously unavailable to the materials characterization community.

Quantitative Results

The design of the Hysitron transducer allows it to be fitted to any commercially available SPM via a simple, temporary modification.

This involves a replacement of the normal detector head with the Hysitron transducer, in which the transducer serves the function of sensing the surface and providing topographic feedback for imaging. However, the TriboScope/SPM system is also then capable of quantitative nanomechanical testing. It is this synergy that makes this system the most sensitive and stable instrument on the market. The indenter utilizes a rigid probe that makes the quantification of the force and displacement measurements more reliable than a measurement made with a probe on the end of a cantilever, which introduces many uncertainties. The TriboScope combines nanoNewton force sensitivity and picometer displacement resolution with SPM imaging for a powerful tool to aid in material studies from basic research to product development to quality control.

AZoNano - The A to Z of Nanotechnology - Tests performed and imaged with the Hysitron TriboScope

Figure 1. Tests performed and imaged with the Hysitron TriboScope

AZoNano - The A to Z of Nanotechnology - Indentation on a low-k material, showing measured modulus and hardness

Figure 2. Indentation on a low-k material, showing measured modulus and hardness.

In-situ SPM Imaging

In-situ SPM imaging allows the indenter probe to be positioned within ten nanometers of any desired feature or phase of a material.

After the test is performed, an image of the deformation caused by the test can be obtained immediately by using the indenter tip to scan the surface. This eliminates the need to reposition an imaging instrument over the testing site. The force and displacement results that are acquired during the test, in conjunction with the in-situ image, offer an unparalleled wealth of information concerning the mechanical properties of the material. Insitu imaging is a necessary tool to yield the repeatable precision necessary for meaningful results in nanoscale testing.

Available Testing Modes


•        Quasistatic testing: Measure Young’s modulus, hardness, fracture toughness and other mechanical properties via indentation.

•        ScanningWear®: Observe and quantify wear volumes and wear rates using in-situ imaging capability.

Upgrade Options

•        nanoDMA®: Investigate time-dependent properties of materials using a dynamic testing technique designed for polymers and biomaterials.

•        Modulus Mapping: Quantitatively map the storage and loss stiffness and moduli over an area from a single SPM scan.

•        Feedback Control: Operate in closed loop load or displacement control to allow measurement of creep, stress relaxation and surface adhesion.

•        Scratch testing: Quantify scratch resistance, critical delamination forces, friction coefficients and more with simultaneous normal and lateral force and displacement monitoring.

•        TriboAE®: Monitor fracture, delamination and phase transformations that occur under nanoscale contacts.

•        Automated TriboScope: Automated indentation on an SPM using predetermined patterns or ClickMode® allows faster data collection with less operator time.

•        Thermal control: Heating or heating/cooling stages can be added for investigation of mechanical properties at non-ambient temperatures.

AZoNano - The A to Z of Nanotechnology - TriboScope transducer and controller

Figure 3. TriboScope transducer and controller.


•        Stability of transducer design minimizes set-up time and necessity of specialized lab environments.

•        In-situ SPM imaging provides industry-leading precision and repeatability.

•        User-friendly, Windows-based software for test design and analysis.

•        Real-time data display and automated analysis routine yields data in minutes.

•        Numerous tip geometries available to meet the demands of the many types of tests available on the TriboScope.

AZoNano - The A to Z of Nanotechnology - Nanoscratch on thin film protective coating on glass showing friction measurement and critical load for delamination

Figure 4. Nanoscratch on thin film protective coating on glass showing friction measurement and critical load for delamination.

Source: Hysitron Incorporated

For more information on this source please visit Hysitron Incorporated


Date Added: Oct 4, 2006 | Updated: Jun 11, 2013
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