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Determination of materials/system properties

Determination of materials/system properties

Application-based friction and wear measurements

Tribology is a very old area of research, but despite all efforts its still an area that leaves some fundamental questions unanswered. This lack of a true understanding is due to the vast complexity of contact geometries and the plethora of other phenomena taking effect on the forces that arise if two bodies in contact are moved relative to each other.
To allow for this complexity it is reasonable to characterize macroscopic friction and wear phenomena with an application based test equipment, that permits statements about the performance and lifetime of a device/tool.

Contact: Thomas Degen and Thorsten Staedler

Mechanical and tribological characterization on the nano-scale

Loadvariation series of wear test on a polymeric
substrate coated with a thin oxide layer

A multiplicity of modern applications such as storage devices, TFT's, and MEMS make use of or are based on thin film technology. The ticknesses of films used in these areas are usually on the order of several hundred nanometers, but for some applications filmthicknesses are significantly smaller. Most of the conventional tribological test equipment is not able to handle such samples.
In these cases a mechanical and tribological characterization is only possible utilizing a combination of nanoindenter and scanning probe microscopy. Such a system allows the determination of mechanical (hardness, Young's modulus) and tribological (friction, wear) properties on a lateral scale of some tenths of nanometers with a load resolution in the sub-micro Newton regime. This experimetal setup can be viewed as kind of model-system (single-asperity contact), that permits to take substrate-, roughness-, and other geometrical effects into account in order to get access to film properties.

Contact: Thorsten Staedler