NIOS Nanomechanical Testers

About NIOS

The  technologies  underlying  NIOS  nanomechanical instruments  have  been  developed  by  russian  materials scientists  and  engineers since  1995.  All  technical  solutions employed on NIOS instruments are protected by patents under Russian  Federation.

The  modular  design  of  NIOS  series  allows  end-users to  configure  a  nanomechanical  tester  specifically  for  their needs  and  requirements. Configurations of NIOS nanomechanical tester can consist of the following modules:

  • Wide-range nanoindenter
  • Optical Microscope
  • Atomic Force Microscope
  • Scanning nanomechanical tester
  • Electrical  Properties Measurement
  • Lateral Force Sensor
  • In-situ Topography Imaging
  • Heating Stage

NIOS Advanced is the flagship  model which implements more  than 30  different  measuring  techniques  covering  all types of physical and  mechanical  properties measurements at the submicron and  nanometer scale.

With NIOS control software a high degree of automated measurements  can  be  achieved  allowing  the  end-user  to configure any set of measurements recipes to be performed without  operator  intervention.  This  feature  is  particularly useful  for  the  technical  control  of  the  materials  quality. With  this  added  functionality,  NIOS  can  be  used  for research work as well  as for industrial applications.





NIOS Standard


NIOS Advanced




Application Areas

Unique features of NIOS allows the instrument to be used in traditional nanomechanical testing and in areas that require SPM  techniques to get mechanical  properties characterization.

Materials science. Scientific research and engineering:

  • Nanophase and composite materials
  • Ultra dispersive hard alloys
  • New hard and superhard materials
  • Structural  nanomaterials: alloys, composites, ceramics
  • Thin films and coatings
  • Carbon nanomaterials and fibers


  • Nanostructured  materials for nuclear energy
  • Coatings for turbine blades

Instrumentation engineering:

  • New semiconductor materials
  • Optical components
  • Micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS)
  • MicroChannel plate for night vision devices
  • Storage devices (i.e.,  Hard  Disk  Drive)
  • Nanolithography


  • New materials in dentistry
  • Nanostructured materials implants 
  • Bioactive coatings
  • Stents

Industry:  automobile, aircraft construction; space research and mechanical engineering

  • New structural and functional nanomaterials
  • Wear resistant coatings for machine elements
  • Coatings for cutting tools
  • Carbide tools quality control
  • Diamonds and diamond powders


  • Linear dimension  measurements at the nanometer scale using 3-axis  laser interferometry


  • Protective coatings for plastic products
  • Glass and metal decorative and functional coatings


  • Nanoindentation & Scanning Probe Microscopy laboratory courses
  • Advanced research

    All  NIOS measurements are performed in an open environment 
  (i.e. without the use of special vacuum or heat treatment). NIOS 
  instruments are designed with features and functionalities that 
  allows its use for research and industrial applications.

Measurement modes and methods

Mechanical properties:

  • Instrumented indentation in accordance with  ISO  14577
  • Vickers microhardness measurements
  • Sclerometry tests (hardness measurement by scratching) with constant or variable load
  • Force spectroscopy
  • Mechanical nanolithography
  • Beams and membranes stiffness measurements
  • Hardness and elastic modulus dependency of the indentation depth
  • Automated  mapping of two- and three-dimensional hardness and elastic modulus distribution over the surface within the area of 50x50 mm
  • Adhesion characterisation by the scratch test
  • Measurements in liquids


  • Cyclic surface abrasion with an applied load
  • Nanotribological tests with grease on an investigated surface

Optical microscopy:

  • Selection of the field for nanomechanical testing
  • Objects' sizes measurements and high-precision positioning

In-situ modes of scanning:

  • Surface profiles on a linear basis up to 50 mm measurements 
  • Relief semi-contact dynamic scanning by the diamond indenter

Local electrical properties:

  • Current-voltage characteristics measurements with a controlled  load or an indentation depth
  • Current Spreading measurements in the nanomechanical tests

Atomic Force  Microscopy:

  • Contact Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)
  • Vibrational (semi-contact) Atomic Force Microscopy (VAFM)
  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM)
  • High magnetic fields microscopy (M-AFM)
  • Electrical conductivity and electrical potential microscopy (E-AFM)
  • Force Modulation  (FM-AFM)
  • Lateral Force Microscopy (LF-AFM)
  • Viscosity Force Microscopy (V-AFM)
  • Adhesive Atomic Force Microscopy (AD-AFM)
  • Lithography Mode (AFM-LIT)
  • Hardness measurements according to residual imprint
  • The extended set of roughness parameters calculation for two- and three-dimensional images of the surface relief in accordance with international standards 
  • ISO 3274,  ISO 4287,  ISO  13565 and  ISO  16610

Measured  characteristics

  • Hardness from  imprint (microhardness)
  • Hardness from instrumented  indentation (nanohardness)
  • Elastic modulus (reduced young's modulus)
  • Coefficient of elastic recovery
  • Adhesion
  • Coating thickness
  • Mechanical properties mapping
  • Mechanical properties vs depth
  • Mechanical properties vs three coordinates (tomography)
  • Microstructures stiffness and displacement
  • Fracture resistance 
  • Durability
  • Linear wear intensity 
  • Coefficient of friction 
  • Lateral force during scratching 
  • Surface topography 
  • Roughness parameters 
  • Local voltage characteristics 
  • Electrical  resistivity

NIOS software

  • Automatic measurements by instrumented indentation, sclerometry, force spectroscopy, AFM and SPM methods
  • Parameters setting using optical microscope or surface relief image obtained with AFM or SPM method
  • High performance of experimental nanoindentation data (using new parallel calculations) batch processing
  • Flexible setting of the indentation reports
  • Macro-commands language allows to perform a random sequence of the measurements in the automatic mode
  • A wide set of mathematical functions allowing to perform a variety of the conversions,  plotting of the spectra, filtering, obtaining two- and three-dimensional data and approximation of the curves
  • Two- and three-dimensional mapping of hardness and elastic modulus distribution versus coordinates
  • Measured mechanical properties and the roughness parameters calculation in accordance with appropriate standards

Related Information