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Nano Lett. 2008 Jan;8(1):124-30. Epub 2007 Dec 12.

Molecular scale buckling mechanics in individual aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes on elastomeric substrates.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


We have studied the scaling of controlled nonlinear buckling processes in materials with dimensions in the molecular range (i.e., approximately 1 nm) through experimental and theoretical studies of buckling in individual single-wall carbon nanotubes on substrates of poly(dimethylsiloxane). The results show not only the ability to create and manipulate patterns of buckling at these molecular scales, but also, that analytical continuum mechanics theory can explain, quantitatively, all measurable aspects of this system. Inverse calculation applied to measurements of diameter-dependent buckling wavelengths yields accurate values of the Young's moduli of individual SWNTs. As an example of the value of this system beyond its use in this type of molecular scale metrology, we implement parallel arrays of buckled SWNTs as a class of mechanically stretchable conductor.


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