Advanced Materials and Microscopy Laboratory

The Advanced Materials and Microscopy Laboratory (AMML) in Room 15 in Palmer Engineering Building at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) houses facilities for microscopic characterizations of materials. Major facilities include a Hysitron TI-950 Triboindenter Nanomechanical Test System, an atomic force microscope (AFM), a micro loading device for in-situ material testing, and optical microscopes.

Hysitron TI-950 Triboindenter Nanomechanical Test System was acquired through an NSF MRI support (NSF 1126582) and matching supports from UNR.

Nanoindentation involves the use of a very small indenter tip to make nanometer-sized indentations on the surface of a specimen while recording the resulting load and displacement data with high accuracy and precision. Hysitron TI-950 Triboindenter Nanomechanical Test System is a next-generation nanoindenter providing an automated, high-throughput, stand-alone test platform for mechanical characterization of materials over the sub-nanometer to micrometer length scales. The TI-950’s high-performance staging system and customizable sample handling options accommodate a wide range of applications, sample types, and sample sizes. The system incorporates a newly developed advanced control module, which provides dual head testing capabilities for sub- micro/ nano scale connectivity, and offers superior noise floor performance. The TI-950 supports optional dual head system functionality, providing the capability of combining high-resolution and low noise 2D low load head capable of indentation, scratch (10mN max load head) and in-situ Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) imaging with available high load heads for sub- nanometer to micrometer scale connectivity.

Fig. 1

Hysitron TI-950 Triboindenter Nanomechanical Test System and the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) in the Advanced Materials and Microscopy Laboratory (AMML)

Numerous nanomechanical testing techniques are available with this instrument, as well as new testing methods currently being developed. For example, for statically applied nanoindenter tip loads, the tip load and displacement data can be used to determine properties such as elastic modulus, hardness, yield strength, fracture toughness, scratch hardness and wear properties. With the dynamic option, the nanoindenter tip oscillates as it makes the indentation, and the resulting data is used to determine the complex modulus, a viscoelastic property consisting of the elastic storage modulus and the loss modulus, a measure of energy dissipation in the material. Time-dependent behavior such as viscoelastic creep and relaxation can be characterized by monitoring the time-dependent displacement of the nanoindenter tip under constant load. The temperature control makes it possible to conduct nanoindentation experiments at various temperatures, which is particularly important for viscoelastic materials such as polymers and polymer composites. The modulus mapping option which we are requesting makes it possible to determine the distribution of the elastic modulus over the desired surface area of the specimen. The atomic force microscope (AFM) option enables the user to map the microscopic surface topography of the specimen.

Professor Yanyao Jiang, Ph.D.

Mechanical Engineering Department (Mail Stop: 312)
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV, 89557-0154

Phone: (775)784-4510
Fax: (775)784-1701