The most important application of nanoindentation is the measurement and the mapping of properties, such as the hardness and the elastic modulus. Therefore, the most important features of a nanoindenter are its ability to detect small changes in these properties as well as the spatial resolution at which these properties can be measured.
The FT-IO4 Femto-Indenter and the FT-NMT04 in-situ SEM Nanoindenter feature two key advantages related to the MEMS-based core technology: high repeatability and ultra-low noise floors in both force and displacement sensing. As illustrated by the data of hardness and modulus measurements on fused silica, the FemtoTools nanoindenters showcase an unprecedented repeatability. As a direct consequence, this precision enables to detect ultra-small variations in hardness and modulus values.
To demonstrate this capability, results from CSM nanoindentation measurements on a single phase alloy (austenitic Nickel-based alloy 690 and NiTi alloy) are presented here. The FemtoTools nanoindenters enable to measure not only the hardness and modulus of fine particles from soft dirt residues (H=500 MPa) to hard carbide precipitates at grain boundaries (H=15 GPa). More remarkably, they can measure small variations in modulus (3%) corresponding to changes in crystal orientation. This can be qualitatively compared to the EBSD map (taken from a different location on the same sample).
To study the variations of mechanical properties in different specimens, over heterogeneous microstructures or at interfaces, the FemtoTools nanoindenters feature sample stages combining a large range (from 12x12 to 130x130 mm) with a 1 nm position noise floor that enables precise and repeatable targeting of specific locations. It also enables the automated mapping of mechanical properties over large areas with high-resolution. The included FemtoTools Software Suite provides extensive data analysis and visualization tools, with profiles, statistics and color maps of all measured and derived properties.