Nano Tribometer

Nano tribometer for low friction testing in rotary and linear mode. Patented capacitive sensors for 0.001 COF analysis.

nano tribology of thin films using tribometer
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Nano Tribology Overview

Main Features:

  • Micro Newton Resolutions
  • Proven technology to measure 0.001 COF
  • Patented capacitive load sensor series
  • Room, temperature, vacuum, and inert atmosphere
  • Patented In-line 3D profilometer

Rtec Instruments offers a state-of-the-art nano tribometer to perform low coefficient of friction tribology and nano wear tribo pairs. At the heart of this nano tribometer module are Rtec’s patented force sensors. Firstly, patented force sensors have negligible thermal drift and cross talk. Secondly, industry-leading resolution and accuracy provide the measurement of forces at unprecedented levels. Lastly, the low friction module can work under ambient and controlled environment conditions.

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    Unmatched Load Cell Technology

    Patented Capacitive Sensors

    In addition to providing unparalleled accuracy and resolution, the sensors accommodate several environments.

    Capacitive sensors for friction measurement on tribometer
    Capacitive Load Cells

    Highest Resolution with a rigid design


    Unique design prevents sensor breakage during mishandling

    Additional Piezo Sensor

    Optional independent piezo Z actuator for nm Z positioning accuracy

    Rigid Design

    Stiff rigid Construction minimises holder tilt.

    Few Nano Tribology Setups

    Rtec Instruments’ nano tribometer technology works across several setups. 

    nano tribology of thin films using tribometer
    Super lubricity 2D Material Sample Getting Tested
    Raman data from integrated microscope using Rtec tribometer MFT-5000
    3D Map Data Generation During The Test
    vacuum tribometer with in-line raman
    Nano Tribometer Vacuum Chamber with In-line Profilometer

    Automatic In-line Imaging –

    Roughness, Wear, Volume vs Time

    Correlate friction, wear, and topography easily

    The integrated 3D profilometer measures the surface topography of the wear track during the test without taking the sample out of the tool. The profilometer is optimized for nanomechanical tests. Modes such as confocal, dark field imaging, and interferometry allow for nm resolution.
    The topography change at nano scales allows for a comprehensive understanding of nano tribology. For example, the initial 3D image acquired accounts for grain boundaries, roughness, the orientation of the samples, and other localized features in contact surfaces.

    The high precision XY stage allows for stitching the entire wear mark automatically.

    Wear mark progression with in-line 3d-profiler on rtec-instruments tester


    Ball On Disc Setup And Data


    We position the DLC coated ball perpendicular to a thin film coated wafers on the rotary module. The universal upper and lower sample holders mount the samples. 


    Graph below shows COF friction curves for two coatings at 50 mN down force and 400 RPM. 

    Low Friction Test on Rtec Nano tribometer

    Why AFM When Nano Tribometer Offers Much More?

    Install wide range (size and geometry) of samples across several ultra low friction applications.  Study friction properties at the atomic scale.


    Currently, most of low friction measurement work is being done using an AFM. Testing using AFM presents challenges such as:

    (i) Calibration of AFM tips to measure friction
    (ii) Non-repeatable bending of AFM tips
    (iii) Only a small down force can be applied
    (iv) Only a small area on the sample is available for testing
    (v) Limited control on environment


    This low friction tribometer measures low friction and wear with ultra precise sensors across a wide linear and rotation speed (10,000 rpm). As the wear rate under these scenarios is negligible in-line 3D profilometer is very useful for providing data without removing the sample. This unique combination enables study of volume wear and chemical property changes of the wear track as it evolves with time.


    The nano tribometer setup offers several advantages over a typical test performed using an AFM and other models. These include:

    (i) Industry leading high resolution, sturdy sensor for accurate, reliable and repeatable measurements without need to calibrate every few tests.
    (ii) Apply much larger down forces compared to AFM.
    (iii) Micro and macro scale samples for comprehensive analysis of coatings.
    (iv) Ambient and controlled  environment (high temperature, vacuum, inert gas)
    (v) 3D imaging for automatic analysis of wear track.

    Solution To

    The nano tribology setup is used across several applications:

    • Semiconductor
    • 2D Materials
    • Aerospace
    • Thin Films
    • Bio Medical
    • Optics and Glasses
    • Lubricants

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    Get in touch, and request a demo.

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