iMicro Nano Indenter

The iMicro nanoindenter makes measuring hard coatings, thin films, and small volumes of material easy. A flexible and expandable nanomechanical testing platform with high speed and high accuracy. Perform a variety of mechanical tests quickly and easily with the KLA iMicro nano indenter. Generate 3D and 4D mechanical property maps with NanoBlitz. Interchangeable actuators provide a large dynamic range of force and displacement, allowing researchers to test materials from soft polymers to hard metals and ceramics with accuracy and repeatability.



A global technology leader who make an impact by creating solutions that drive progress and transform industries. Collaboration is the key to their success. KLA provide leading-edge technology and devices using advanced inspection tools, metrology systems, and computational analytics. Their solutions accelerate tomorrow’s electronic devices. They enable evolution and innovation in the data era across key industries including automotive, mobile and data centre.

Product Videos

iMicro Nano Indenter

Nano Indenters

Key Features

  • InForce 1000 actuator for capacitance displacement measurement and electromagnetic force actuation with interchangeable tips
  • Optional InForce 50 actuator provides maximum 50mN normal force for measuring soft materials, and optional Gemini 2D force transducer for two-axis dynamic measurement
  • Unique software-integrated tip-calibration system for fast, accurate tip calibration
  • InQuest high speed controller electronics with 100kHz data acquisition rate and 20µs time constant
  • XY Motion System with easy mounting magnetic sample holder
  • High stiffness gantry with integrated vibration isolation
  • Integrated microscope with digital zoom for precise indentation targeting
  • ISO 14577 & standardised test methods
  • InView software package with RunTest, ReviewData, InFocus reporting, InView University online training and InView mobile application
  • NanoBlitz 3D & 4D Property Mapping
  • Sample Heating

Nano Indentation Made Easy

To make nano indentation as easy as possible, KLA have developed the InView software, a flexible and modern software package. Mechanical testing can be set up in under a minute with InView’s guided setup. A large range of standard test methods are pre-programmed into the system. New test protocols can also be configured for novel experiments or materials, with full control over all testing parameters.

With each nano indentation system, KLA also provides access to a comprehensive online nano indentation learning portal. This includes webinars and documentation on both the basic principles and advanced applications of nano indentation and the iMicro’s features.

Flexible & Extensible Design

The iMicro’s design features interchangeable actuators, which allows the iMicro to support a wide range of materials, both hard and soft. The InForce 1000 actuator is supplied as standard, with a max force of 1N. For soft materials, the InForce 50 actuator is available, with a maximum force of 50mN. The optional Gemini 2D transducer provides two-axis dynamic measurement.

A wide range of options are also available to enhance the iMicro’s capabilities. This includes integrated sample heating, with a maximum temperature of 300°C. The heating chamber provides uniform sample heating with precision temperature control, and is compatible with many of the iMicro’s advanced testing methods.

Comprehensive Mechanical Testing Capabilities

A comprehensive range of mechanical tests are supported by the iMicro. The iMicro can perform hardness and modulus measurements (Oliver-Pharr) for a variety of materials, from ultra-soft gels to hard coatings. ISO 14577 hardness testing is full supported. Scratch and wear testing is also supported on a wide selection of materials.

Options are also available for Continuous Stiffness Measurement (CSM), AccuFilm™ for substrate independent thin film measurement, and ProbeDMA™ for testing viscoelastic properties of polymers. An option is also available for measuring the complex modulus of biomaterials.

Fast & Accurate Measurement

The iMicro has been designed to make nanomechanical testing both fast and accurate. KLA’s actuator design utilises electromagnetic force actuation and capacitance displacement technology. The force actuation and displacement measurement are decoupled, allowing them to be independently optimised to maximise performance. This design provides a high stiffness while maximising vertical stability, and provides the highest calibration stability on the market.

The iMicro also features a high stiffness gantry to ensure measurement is accurate across a wide range of materials, even at high loads. Integrated vibration isolation is also provided to ensure a low noise floor during operation.

NanoBlitz 3D & NanoBlitz 4D Mechanical Property Mapping

NanoBlitz 3D generates 3D maps of nanomechanical properties. Using the iMicro’s automatic XY stage, NanoBlitz 3D performs up to 100,000 indents across a sample. Young’s modulus, hardness, and stiffness values are recorded for each indent, and can be visualised as property maps. Mapping with NanoBlitz 3D is fast, taking less than 1 second per indent, including stage movement time.

NanoBlitz 4D extends iMicro’s Continuous Stiffness Measurement (CSM) capability to provide mechanical property tomography. Up to 10,000 indents are performed at 5 to 10 seconds per indent. Young’s modulus, hardness, and stiffness values are recorded as a function of depth for each indent, which can be visualised as a set of property maps.

Shown left: NanoBlitz 3D image showing hardness mapping
Shown right: NanoBlitz 4D mapping at two different depths


  • Universities, research labs and institutes
  • Semiconductor and packaging industry
  • Polymers and plastics
  • MEMS: Micro-electro-mechanical systems/nanoscale universal testing
  • Ceramics and glass
  • Metals and alloys
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Coatings and paints
  • Polymer manufacturing
  • Composites
  • Batteries and energy storage
  • Automotive and Aerospace


Hardness and modulus measurements (Oliver-Pharr)

Mechanical characterization is critical in the process and manufacture of films, including the quality of coatings in the automotive industry, as well as during process control of front-end and back-end semiconductor manufacturing.

The iMicro nanoindenter is capable of measuring hardness and modulus for a wide variety of materials, from ultra-soft gels to hard coatings. The high speed assessment of these properties enables quality control and assurance on production lines.

High speed material property maps

For many materials, including composites, the mechanical properties may vary widely from one area to the next. The iMicro provides a sample stage movement of 100mm in the X and Y axes, and 25mm in the Z axis, allowing testing of a wide range of sample heights over a large sample area. The optional NanoBlitz Topography and Tomography software can quickly generate colour maps of any of the measured mechanical properties.

ISO 14577 hardness testing

The iMicro nanoindenter includes a pre-written ISO 14577 Test Method that measures material hardness in compliance with the ISO 14577 standard. This test method automatically measures and reports Young’s modulus, instrumented hardness, Vickers hardness and the normalized work-of-indentation.

Polymer tan delta, storage and loss modulus

The iMicro nanoindenter is capable of measuring both tan delta and the storage and loss modulus for ultra-soft materials, including viscoelastic polymers. Storage and loss modulus and tan delta are important properties of viscoelastic polymers, whose energy is stored as elastic energy and dissipated as heat. Both of these metrics measure energy dissipation in a given material.

Quantitative scratch and wear testing

The iMicro can perform scratch and wear testing on a variety of materials. Coatings and films are subjected to many processes that test the strength of these films and their adhesion to the substrate, such as chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) and wire bonding. It is important for these materials to resist plastic deformation during these processes, and to remain intact without blistering up from the substrate. Ideally, a dielectric material will have a high hardness and elastic modulus because these parameters help define how the material will react when subjected to manufacturing processes.

High Temperature Nanoindentation Testing

Nanoindentation at elevated temperatures is critical to characterizing material performance under thermal stress, especially for quantifying failure mechanisms during thermomechanical processing. Varying the sample temperature during mechanical testing enables not only measurement of thermal-induced behavioural changes, but also quantification of transition plasticity of materials that are not easily tested on the nano-scale.


Hard Coatings

Typically, < 5µm thick hard coatings are applied to materials for surface protection, increased wear resistance, friction/lubrication, temperature resistance, and biocompatibility. The iMicro system can accurately perform ISO standardised nanoindentation testing and measure elastic modulus and hardness of the coating without influence from the substrate. The iMicro nanoindenter is also capable of measuring scratch hardness and wear resistance. In the case of high surface roughness coatings, the NanoBlitz 3D option can be used to quickly and quantitatively assess material properties.

Semiconductor Wafers

Semiconductor manufacturers often strive to produce thin films with high mechanical integrity, but low film flexibility can lead to cracking or delamination. Undetected defects at the substrate and epitaxial layers can also result in latent defect and crack propagation, which can lead to device failure. KLA nanoindenters are capable of measuring elastic modulus and hardness of the thinnest films, as well as fracture toughness and cracking threshold, all without artefacts from the underlying substrate. Correlating nanomechanical properties to process parameters is critical to maximise semiconductor device yield.

Ceramics and Glasses

Ceramics and glasses are important materials used in many applications for their unique optical, mechanical, and electrical properties. Traditional mechanical testing of ceramics and glasses (e.g., 4-point bending) can be time-consuming and expensive. The iMicro allows for rapid characterisation of elastic modulus and hardness of small volumes of material. The scratch testing capability is also well-suited to quantitatively assess the scratch resistance of optical coatings.

Metals and Alloys

Metals and alloys play an important role in many industries, such as automotive, aerospace, medical, and semiconductor. Traditional mechanical testing of metals and alloys (e.g., tensile testing) can be time-consuming and expensive. The iMicro allows for rapid characterisation of small volumes of material. It also allows users to characterise elastic modulus, hardness, and creep resistance, as well as gradients in these properties as a function of spatial location.

Batteries and Energy Storage

Mechanical properties of battery materials are closely tied to the battery’s stability, charge capacity, and lifetime. The iMicro nanoindenter is well-suited for testing a wide range of battery materials, from soft lithium to hard ceramic substrates. The iMicro provides advanced measurement solutions in many environments, including dry rooms and glove boxes.

Research and Development

KLA nanoindenters are not only built for the precision and accuracy required by demanding R&D applications, but are also flexible scientific instruments. Whether measuring the mechanical properties of novel materials, examining the deformation mechanisms of metals, or analysing strain-rate sensitivity as a function of temperature, the iMicro provides a wide range of nanoindentation measurement capability to enable advanced research and accelerate development.

Pharmaceutical, Food and Personal Care

The mechanical properties of pharmaceuticals, food, and personal care products are strongly linked to customer satisfaction and experience. The elastic modulus or stiffness of a material can be related to texture and feel. The mechanical properties of coatings are also critical to on-time drug delivery. The iMicro nanoindenter provides quantitative information that supplements qualitative customer feedback.

Automotive and Aerospace

KLA nanoindenters allow advanced characterisation of materials as a function of temperature, a key capability for automotive and aerospace applications. Strength, stiffness, and time-dependent mechanical properties are all measurable using iMicro’s nanoindentation techniques.

Nanoscale Universal Testing

The iMicro nanoindenter systems are capable of measuring nanoscale mechanical deformation and other nanomechanical properties. Measurement of nanoindentation, compression, tension, creep, stress relaxation, and fatigue are examples of the iMicro’s versatile capabilities. Standard and custom experimental methods are supported. The dedicated scientists in the nanoindenter group at KLA are also available for consulting and experiment design.


Product Videos

iMicro Nano Indenter

Nano Indenters

Technical Specifications

Nanoindenter Tips Application Note

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Cross-Sectional DMA Testing on Automotive Tires Using Continuous Stiffness Measurement on Nanoindentation

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Effect of Annealing on 50nm Gold Films

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In Vitro Complex Shear Modulus of Bovine Muscle Tissue (Steak)

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Instrumented Indentation Testing with the KLA Nano Indenter® systems

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Mechanical Characterization of Sol-Gel Coatings Using KLA Nano Indenter systems

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Strain Rate Sensitivity of Thin Metal Films by Instrumented Indentation

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Nano Indenter Product Family Line Card

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iMicro Nano Indenter Brochure

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Continuous Stiffness Measurement (CSM)

Continuous stiffness measurement is used to quantify dynamic material properties, such as strain rate and frequency-induced effects. The CSM technique involves oscillating the probe during indentation to measure properties as a function of depth, force, time, or frequency. The option comes with a constant strain rate experiment that measures hardness and modulus as a function of depth or load, which is the most common test method used across academia and industry. CSM is also used for other advanced measurement options, including the ProbeDMA™ method for storage and loss modulus measurements and AccuFilm™ substrate-independent measurements. The CSM is integrated into the InQuest controller and InView software to deliver ease of use and data quality.

InForce 50 Actuator

The InForce 50 actuator performs nanomechanical tests with forces up to 50mN. The patented electromagnetic force application ensures robust measurements and long-term force and displacement stability. Industry-leading mechanical design ensures that harmonic motion is constrained to one degree of freedom so that force and displacement are controlled along a single axis. The InForce 50 actuator is compatible with the CSM, NanoBlitz, ProbeDMA, biomaterials, sample heating, scratch, wear and ISO 14577 testing options. Tips are interchangeable among the entire line of InForce and Gemini actuators.

Gemini Two-axis Actuator

Gemini two-axis technology brings standard indentation performance to a second lateral axis, with the CSM operating along both axes simultaneously. The additional information provided by this patented technique helps give new insight to material properties and failure mechanisms. The two-dimensional transducer is needed for lateral force and tribology measurements, and enables measurements of Poisson’s ratio, coefficient of friction, scratch, wear, shear and topology.

300°C Sample Heating

The 300°C sample heating option allows the sample to be placed into a chamber for uniform heating while simultaneously undergoing tests with the InForce 50 actuator. The option includes high-precision temperature control, inert gas backfill to reduce oxidation, and cooling to remove waste heat. ProbeDMA, AccuFilm, NanoBlitz and CSM are all compatible with the sample heating option.

NanoBlitz 3D

NanoBlitz 3D utilizes the InForce 50 or InForce 1000 actuator and a Berkovich tip to generate 3D maps of nanomechanical properties for high-E (> 3GPa) materials. NanoBlitz performs up to 100,000 indents (300×300 array) at < 1s per indent, and provides Young’s modulus (E), hardness (H), and stiffness (S) values at a specified load for each indent in the array. The large number of tests enables increased statistical accuracy. Histogram charts show multiple phases or materials. The NanoBlitz 3D package includes visualization and data handling capabilities.

NanoBlitz 4D

NanoBlitz 4D utilizes the InForce 50 or InForce 1000 actuator and a Berkovich tip to generate 4D maps of nanomechanical properties for both low-E/H and high-E (>3GPa) materials. NanoBlitz performs up to 10,000 indents (30×30 array) at 5-10s per indent, and provides Young’s modulus (E), hardness (H), and stiffness (S) values as a function of depth for each indent in the array. NanoBlitz 4D utilizes a constant strain rate method. The package includes visualization and data handling capabilities.

AccuFilm™ Thin Film Method Pack

The AccuFilm Thin Film Method Pack is an InView test method based on the Hay-Crawford model for measuring substrate-independent material properties using Continuous Stiffness Measurement (CSM). AccuFilm corrects for substrate influence on film measurements for hard films on soft substrates, as well as for soft films on hard substrates.

ProbeDMA™ Polymer Method Pack

The Polymer Pack provides the ability to measure the complex modulus of polymers as a function of frequency. The pack includes a flat-punch tip, a viscoelastic reference material, and a test method for evaluation of viscoelastic properties. This measurement technique is key to characterizing nanoscale polymers and polymer films that are not well-served by traditional dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) test instruments.

Biomaterials Method Pack

The Biomaterials Method Pack provides the ability to measure the complex modulus of biomaterials with shear moduli on the order of 1kPa, and utilizes Continuous Stiffness Measurement (CSM). The pack includes a flat-punch tip and a test method for evaluation of viscoelastic properties. This measurement technique is key to characterizing small scale biomaterials that are not well-served by traditional rheometer instruments.

Scratch and Wear Testing Method Pack

Scratch testing involves the application of either a constant or ramped load to an indenter while moving across the sample surface at a specified velocity. Scratch testing allows characterization of numerous materials such as thin films, brittle ceramics and polymers.


DataBurst enables systems equipped with InView software and the InQuest controller to record displacement data at rates > 1kHz for measuring high strain step loads, pop-in and other high speed events. iNano systems outfitted with the User Method Development option can also modify methods to work with DataBurst.

User Method Development for InView Control Software

InView is a powerful, intuitive experiment-scripting platform that can be used for designing novel or complex experiments. Experienced users can set up and perform virtually any small-scale mechanical test using the iMicro system equipped with the exclusive InView option.

Active Vibration Isolation with Modular Rack System

The optional high-performance active vibration isolation system provides additional vibration isolation for the iMicro nanoindenter, on top of its built-in vibration isolation. This easy-to-install system provides vibration reduction in all six degrees of freedom, with no tuning required. A Modular Rack System houses all components conveniently within an integrated rack.

True Test I-V Electrical Measurements

Controlled through the InView software, the True Test I-V option for the iMicro nanoindenter utilizes a precision ammeter and voltage source, a through-tip electrical path, and a conductive tip. This design allows the user to apply specific voltages to a sample and measure the current at the tip while simultaneously operating the InForce 50 or InForce 1000 actuator.

Linear Optical Encoders

The Linear Optical Encoder (LOE) option for the iMicro is integrated into the X and Y motion stages, and increases the positional accuracy and throughput of the testing process.

Indenter Tips and Calibration Samples

The InForce 50, InForce 1000 and Gemini actuators utilize interchangeable tips. A wide variety of sharp indenters are available, such as Berkovich, cube corner and Vickers, as well as flat punches, sphere punches, and other geometries. Standard reference materials and calibration standards are also available for the entire product line.

Service Support

Comprehensive repairs and servicing

Annual Support Programs

Your metrology instrumentation is a major investment that is critical to your business operation and success. In today’s competitive climate, it is more important than ever to extend the functionality and peak performance of your metrology equipment years beyond the expiration of your factory warranty. CN Tech’s Support Programs will help ensure that your investment is protected, and that you and your instrument’s are always operating at peak performance.

With over 20 years’ experience servicing and repairing you can be assured that your system is in safe hands. The independent services we offer include system relocation, maintenance visits, parts and consumables, and break down interventions.

CN Tech’s Support Programs are an economical way to guarantee optimal working condition:

  • Annual Preventive Maintenance
  • Priority Technical Assistance
  • Preferred Parts Availability
  • On-Site User Training
  • Remote Diagnostics
  • No surprise repair expense and much more!

Support Contact Example

An example of our service and support contracts are shown below:


Metrology & Instrumentation Annual Support Programs 2022/23

CN Tech's Support Programs will help ensure that your investment is protected, and that you and your instrument’s are always operating at peak performance.

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