Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Vamsi Yadavalli


Engineering the next generation of smart materials will require new methods of surface characterization, analysis and identification that can be performed not only in three dimensional space but also in the temporal dimension. Of particular interest is the understanding of mechanical properties of complex systems at the micro and nanoscales. Current techniques for such measurements are hampered by challenges including their inability to probe systems in complex microenvironments, non-destructively, or at nanometer resolution. This thesis outlines work in the development of techniques to study diverse systems and determine their mechanical properties using the Atomic Force Microscope as the primary tool. We develop a strategy wherein topography and nanomechanical properties can be simultaneously mapped out to obtain a 3D visualization of a surface at sub micrometer resolutions. A diverse set of applications ranging from polymeric surfaces to protein assembly are studied using this method. In addition to uncovering fundamental surface properties, the groundwork for applying nanomechanical identification for new applications such as forensic identification for bacterial spores are also laid out using this versatile technique.


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Is Part Of

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Date of Submission

August 2013

Available for download on Monday, August 14, 2023

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Engineering Commons