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Nano Lett. 2011 Aug 10;11(8):3207-13. doi: 10.1021/nl201460v. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Mechanics and dynamics of the strain-induced M1-M2 structural phase transition in individual VO₂ nanowires.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, United States.


The elastic properties and structural phase transitions of individual VO(2) nanowires were studied using an in situ push-to-pull microelectromechanical device to realize quantitative tensile analysis in a transmission electron microscope and a synchrotron X-ray microdiffraction beamline. A plateau was detected in the stress-strain curve, signifying superelasticity of the nanowire arising from the M1-M2 structural phase transition. The transition was induced and controlled by uniaxial tension. The transition dynamics were characterized by a one-dimensionally aligned domain structure with pinning and depinning of the domain walls along the nanowire. From the stress-strain dependence the Young's moduli of the VO(2) M1 and M2 phases were estimated to be 128 ± 10 and 156 ± 10 GPa, respectively. Single pinning and depinning events of M1-M2 domain wall were observed in the superelastic regime, allowing for evaluation of the domain wall pinning potential energy. This study demonstrates a new way to investigate nanoscale mechanics and dynamics of structural phase transitions in general.


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