The Hysitron TriboIndenter, which can perform nanoindentation and nanoscratch testing, has the capability to perform in-situ scanning probe microscopy (SPM). The TriboIndenter’s piezo scanner can scan a probe tip across a sample surface up to 60 µm wide and at a maximum rate of 3 Hz. The setpoint applied during scanning is typically 1-2 µN. Analysis software, such as SIP or Hysitron’s TriboView, calculate surface roughness parameters from imported SPM images.

Typical Experimental Results:


SPM image of a grid pattern



3D render of a grid pattern converted from SPM image


A SPM image of a scratch on a hard drive platter and a SPM image of a rubber surface


Rubber Surface Roughness Parameters Calculated with TriboView Analysis Software

Scan Area
400 µm^2
RMS (Rq)
170.703 nm
Average Roughness (Ra)
137.135 nm
Max Height
730.156 nm
Min Height
-492.650 nm
1222.810 nm



SPM image of a 10 µm wide wear crater



Line profile across the 10 µm wear crater generated in TriboView analysis software


10 Peak Height
Average Surface Roughness
Crack Length
Critical Dimensions
Density of Summits
Grip Material
Line Profile
Material Coating
Material Finishing
Material Removal
Nano Features
Peak to Peak
Peak to Valley
RMS Roughness

For more information please read our application notes.

Instruments: Hysitron TriboIndenter SPM


Key Specifications:

Max Scan Area 60 µm
Max Scan Rate 3 Hz
Scan Lines per Image 256
Probe Tip Geometry Berkovich, Cube Corner, Conical
Probe Material Diamond


ASTM Number Title Website Link
E2859-11 Standard Guide for Size Measurement of Nanoparticles using Atomic Force Microscopy Link
E1813-96 Standard Practice for Measuring and Reporting Probe Tip Shape in Scanning Probe Microscopy Link


ISO Number Title Website Link
3274 Gemoetrical Product Specifications (GPS)– Surface texture: Profile method– Nominal characteristics of contact (stylus) instruments Link
8503-4 Preparation of steel substrates before application of paints and related products– Surface roughness characteristics of blast-cleaned steel substrates– Part 4: Method for the calibration of ISO surface profile comparators and for the determination of surface profile– Stylus instrument procedure Link
25319 Sintered metal materials, excluding hardmetals– Measurement of surface roughness Link