Dynamic indentation techniques are often used to determine mechanical properties as a function of depth by continuously measuring the stiffness of a material. The dynamics are used by superimposing an oscillation on top of the monotonic loading. Of interest was how the oscillation affects the measured mechanical properties when compared to a quasi-static indent run at the same loading conditions as a dynamic. Single crystals of nickel and NaCl as well as a polycrystalline nickel sample and amorphous fused quartz and polycarbonate have all been studied. With respect to dynamic oscillations, the result is a decrease of the load at the same displacement and thus lower measured hardness values of the ductile crystalline materials. It has also been found that the first 100 nm of displacement are the most affected by the oscillating tip, an important length scale for testing thin films, nanopillars, and nanoparticles.
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