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Nano Lett. 2012 May 9;12(5):2599-604. doi: 10.1021/nl300957a. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Ultimate bending strength of Si nanowires.

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Ceramics Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.


Test platforms for the ideal strength of materials are provided by almost defect-free nanostructures (nanowires, nanotubes, nanoparticles, for example). In this work, the ultimate bending strengths of Si nanowires with radii in the 20-60 nm range were investigated by using a new bending protocol. Nanowires simply held by adhesion on flat substrates were bent through sequential atomic force microscopy manipulations. The bending states prior to failure were analyzed in great detail to measure the bending dynamics and the ultimate fracture strength of the investigated nanowires. An increase in the fracture strengths from 12 to 18 GPa was observed as the radius of nanowires was decreased from 60 to 20 nm. The large values of the fracture strength of these nanowires, although comparable with the ideal strength of Si, are explained in terms of the surface morphology of the nanowires.


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