Advanced course: Instrumented Nanoindentation

14-16 February, 2024 / EPFL


This popular course, organized in partnership with Alemnis and Queen Mary University of London, will take place at the Discovery Learning Lab (DLL), EPFL.

Who should attend

This course is intended for current nanoindentation users who want to gain the experience and knowledge required to extract useful data from challenging sample materials and also for users of conventional indentation methods (Vickers, Rockwell, Knoop, etc.) who are thinking of adding instrumented indentation to their portfolio of practical test techniques. The course could also be very useful to current users who have some prior experience but have encountered practical problems related to test parameters, sample preparation or data interpretation.

The number of participants is limited to 16.

Fees and registration

Registration can be carried out through this form.

PhD/master’s students from EPFL: CHF 375.-

Other academic participants: CHF 675.-

All other participants: CHF 1800.-

Please note that payment is now required upon registration using the PayOnLine platform, which accepts major credit cards, PayPal and Twint. Course fees being paid directly by an EPFL laboratory may be paid by account transfer – please contact Carey Sargent if you are an EPFL student and prefer this method of payment.


• Understand the basics of instrumented indentation testing and its use in relation to conventional indentation techniques.

• Design and perform indentation experiments which are suited to the sample material and its surface characteristics.

• Recognize unusual material behaviors and understand how to adapt experimental parameters.

• Interpret indentation data in order to extract meaningful and valid values of mechanical properties with high level of confidence.

• Identify potential measurement artifacts and adapt test parameters accordingly.

• Understand measurement uncertainties and how to minimize them.

• Appreciate the variation of surface mechanical properties as a function of depth or spatial distribution and understand how to focus on specific layers, phases or inclusions in a heterogeneous material.

• Ability to interpret relevant applications and case studies, such as: common coating-substrate combinations, multiphase materials, composites, surface-modified layers, and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) devices.

• Recognize currently applicable industrial standards and be able to adapt such test methodologies to own  specific application.

This course may be validated for 1 ECTS credit in the doctoral programs of EPFL and ETH Zurich after acceptance by the corresponding institution. The credit will be attributed to students who pass the examination held on the final day of the course.


  • Introduction, including basic indentation theory
  • Basic experimental 
  • Advanced experimental
  • Research methods  
  • Applications of instrumented indentation
  • Comparison of techniques
  • Overview of industrial standards
  • Testing of coatings


Dr. Andy Bushby (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr. Nicholas Randall (Alemnis).