A simplified approach for the determination of fitting constants in Oliver-Pharr method regarding biological samples
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The atomic force microscopy (AFM) nanoindentation regarding biological samples is a challenging procedure. Biological samples at the nanoscale can be considered as purely elastic materials under the condition that the indentation depth is very small and the indenter is smooth. However, the indenters that are commonly used are pyramidal and in several cases the indentation depths are big comparing to the dimensions of the tip apex. Hence, pyramidal indenters usually cause a permanent damage to the sample. In this case, the best model that can be applied for the data processing is the Oliver-Pharr model which takes into account the elastic-plastic behavior of the sample. The Oliver-Pharr model is based on the fitting of the unloading load-indentation data to a power law equation. In this paper a simplified procedure which ensures the accurate fitting of the unloading load-indentation data to the Oliver-Pharr model is presented and validated on experimental data obtained from a human glioma cell line. It should be noted that the proposed method can be also applied for the data fitting in the case of purely elastic response.