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Nano Lett. 2011 Sep 14;11(9):3816-20. doi: 10.1021/nl201890s. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Source truncation and exhaustion: insights from quantitative in situ TEM tensile testing.

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


A unique method for quantitative in situ nanotensile testing in a transmission electron microscope employing focused ion beam fabricated specimens was developed. Experiments were performed on copper samples with minimum dimensions in the 100-200 nm regime oriented for either single slip or multiple slip, respectively. We observe that both frequently discussed mechanisms, truncation of spiral dislocation sources and exhaustion of defects available within the specimen, contribute to high strengths and related size-effects in small volumes. This suggests that in the submicrometer range these mechanisms should be considered simultaneously rather than exclusively.

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