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Last updated:

November 29, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


This course focuses on the latest scientific developments and discoveries in the field of nanomechanics, the study of forces and motion on extremely tiny (10-9 m) areas of synthetic and biological materials and structures

At this level, mechanical properties are intimately related to chemistry, physics, and quantum mechanics. Most lectures will consist of a theoretical component that will then be compared to recent experimental data (case studies) in the literature. The course begins with a series of introductory lectures that describes the normal and lateral forces acting at the atomic scale. The following discussions include experimental techniques in high resolution force spectroscopy, atomistic aspects of adhesion, nanoindentation, molecular details of fracture, chemical force microscopy, elasticity of single macromolecular chains, intermolecular interactions in polymers, dynamic force spectroscopy, biomolecular bond strength measurements, and molecular motors.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction to nanomechanics Unlimited
  • High resolution force spectroscopy (HRFS): The force transducer Unlimited
  • Additional nanomechanics instrumentation components Unlimited
  • Force versus distance curves Unlimited
  • Atomic force microscope (AFM) imaging Unlimited
  • AFM imaging II: Artifacts and applications Unlimited
  • Single cell mechanics Unlimited
  • Qualitative Introduction to intra- and intermolecular forces Unlimited
  • Quantitative description of intra- and intermolecular forces Unlimited
  • Molecule-surface interactions Unlimited
  • Colloids and interparticle potentials Unlimited
  • Van der Waals forces at work: Gecko feet adhesion Unlimited
  • Midterm exam solutions review Unlimited
  • The electrical double layer (EDL) – part 1 Unlimited
  • The electrical double layer (EDL) – part 2 Unlimited
  • Nanomechanics of cartilage Unlimited
  • Protein-surface interactions Unlimited
  • Nanomechanics and biocompatibility: Protein-biomaterial interactions, part 2 Unlimited
  • Elasticity of single polymer chains: Theoretical formulations Unlimited
  • Theoretical aspects of single molecule force spectroscopy: Extensibility and the worm-like chain (WLC) Unlimited
  • Single chain elasticity of biomacromolecules: The giant protein titin and DNA Unlimited
  • Theoretical aspects of nanoindentation Unlimited
  • Nanoindentation 2: Oliver-Pharr method and one literature example: Nacre Unlimited

About the instructor

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology