Improvements in instrumentation and data analysis havemade nanoindentation the method of choice for measuringthe mechanical properties of very small volumes of material,particularly for thin films and coatings such as auto paint,TiN coatings for extending the life of cutting tools andsurface films on computer hard disk drive surfaces. Problemsarise in the marketplace if a manufacturer tries to makeproperties measured by nanoindentation part of a productspecification, because there is currently only one internationalstandard test method (and none in the United States) forperforming the nanoindentation tests, and procedures forverifying the performance of such testing machines arepresently inadequate. There is an approved internationalstandard in ISO (ISO/DIS 14577–1, 2, 3) entitled ‘metallicmaterials—instrumented indentation test for hardness andmaterials parameters’ but it deals solely with the testing of bulkmaterials.

Direct observation of base-pair stepping by RNA polymerase
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