Determining hardness of nanoscale materials

waynerad submitted this article from the Christian Science Monitor ("It's a small, small, small world", by Laurie Toupin, 14 May 2002) which he describes how an "MIT researcher uses atomic-force microscope (AFM) to determine the hardness of nanoscale materials. The NanoMechanical Technology Laboratory at MIT is using a diamond-tipped 'nano-indenter' to determine how materials behave at nanoscale dimensions. The nano-indenter measures the 'load' (force) being pushed into the sample and how deeply the diamond point goes into it, which gives enough information to calculate how stiff the material is, how strong it is, when it will fracture, and how much load it will take before it permanently deforms [breaks]."

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