PI (Physik Instrumente) published an interesting technote about using scanning probe microscopy with piezo stages and capacitive nanometrology sensors to improve nano-indentation and materials testing systems. The NanoTest from Micro Materials is ideal for use with a wide range of materials because it can apply forces of between 30 nN and 500 mN depending on the operating mode, and it can measure penetration depths of between 0.1 nm and 50 ìm. The task is carried out by a high-resolution capacitive sensor, the PISeca sensor from PI.
The Whitesides Group at Harvard University and CSM Instruments published an nanotech article on complex 3D-nano patterns with Indentation Lithography (IndL) and piezo technology. The paper describes the use of a nanoindenter, equipped with a diamond tip, to form patterns of indentations on planar substrates (epoxy, silicon, and SiO2). The indentations have the form of pits and furrows, whose cross-sectional profiles are determined by the shapes of the diamond indenters, and whose dimensions are determined by the applied load and hardness of the substrate.