Development of new polymer products ranging from consumer goods to bioreplacement materials continues to accelerate. Many involve strongly viscoelastic, compliant materials with nano- and microscale heterogeneities. Evaluating the mechanical robustness of these materials is critical for qualifying future product reliability and performance.
New contact-based processes could revolutionize nanomanufacturing, but they cannot yet be sufficiently controlled to produce high-volume, low-cost products. Sensitive, real-time measurements of nanoscale contact interactions lead to enhanced nanofabrication process control and, hence, dramatic improvements in repeatability, yield and speed.