Microsystem Technologies

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 1595–1649 | Cite as

Depth-sensing nanoindentation measurement techniques and applications

  • Bharat BhushanEmail author
Review Paper


To measure nanomechanical properties of surface layers of bulk materials and thin films, depth-sensing nanoindentation measurement techniques are used commonly. The nanoindentation apparatus continuously monitors the load and the position of the indenter relative to the surface of the specimen (depth of an indent or displacement) during the indentation process. Indentation experiments can be performed at a penetration depth of as low as about 5 nm. This paper presents an overview of various nanoindentation techniques, various measurement options, and data analysis. Data on elastic–plastic deformation behavior, hardness, elastic modulus, scratch resistance, film-substrate adhesion, residual stresses, time-dependent creep and relaxation properties, fracture toughness, and fatigue are presented.


Residual Stress Fracture Toughness Acoustic Emission Critical Load Displacement Curve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of symbols


Contact area


Crack length




Elastic modulus

Er, Es, Ei

Reduced modulus and elastic moduli of the specimen and indenter, respectively


Indentation (penetration) depth


Contact depth


Plastic indentation depth


Indentation hardness


Stress intensity factor


Fracture toughness


Stiffness (1/compliance)


Normal load


Yield strength


Adhesion strength

νs and νi

Poisson’s ratio of the specimen and the indenter, respectively


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio- and Nanotechnology and BiomimeticsThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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