The nanoindenter has a tremendous potential for the measurement of mechanical properties of thin films and coatings. Information can be obtained about plastic, elastic and time dependent deformation behaviour. In some cases fracture behaviour of the coatings and the adhesion of the coating to the substrate can also be investigated.
Before accurate and reproducible measurements can be made the nanoindenter needs to be suitably calibrated. The magnitude of the uncertainties associated with calibration and their relevance to measurements are also required. Additionally it is important that a thorough understanding of the effect of thermal drift on the measurement process is developed. Traceability of calibration is also an important consideration.
The primary areas where calibration is essential are displacement, load and shape of the indenter.