Browse Prior Art Database

Measuring Apparatus for Determining the Hardness of Thin Layers

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000102378D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-17
Document File: 1 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Koehler, C: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

This article describes a measuring apparatus for determining the hardness of thin layers in the nanometer range by providing a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) or an atomic force microscope (AFM) with a highly sensitive indentation force sensor.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 69% of the total text.

Measuring Apparatus for Determining the Hardness of Thin Layers

       This article describes a measuring apparatus for
determining the hardness of thin layers in the nanometer range by
providing a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) or an atomic force
microscope (AFM) with a highly sensitive indentation force sensor.

      Classic hardness testers consist of an indentation mechanism,
which indents a surface at a defined force, and an optical means for
measuring the indented area.

      The quotient of the indentation force and the projected
indented area represents the Meyer hardness.  For tests on thin
layers, the indentation depth should be limited to about 1/5 to 1/3
of the layer thickness.  In thin-film technology (layer thicknesses
of less than 1 Èm), extremely low values are required for the
indentation or indentation depth of the test tip.

      The basic component of the hardness measuring apparatus
described in this article is an STM or an AFM.  Both devices are
employed for high-resolution surface topography measurements.  They
have measuring tips of extremely small radii which may be arbitrarily
positioned in the image window above the surface to be tested.  Tests
with the STM have shown that the same measuring tip may be used to
produce nm indentations on the surface and to topographically measure
the indentations thus produced.

      An integrated high-resolution force sensor, which is capable of
absorbing the indentation forces...