Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny wires change behavior at nanoscale

30.08.2011
Rice University researchers surprised to see twin-induced brittle-like fractures in gold nanowires

Thin gold wires often used in high-end electronic applications are wonderfully flexible as well as conductive. But those qualities don't necessarily apply to the same wires at the nanoscale.

A new study from Rice University finds gold wires less than 20 nanometers wide can become "brittle-like" under stress. It appears in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The paper by Rice materials scientist Jun Lou and his lab shows in microscopic detail what happens to nanowires under the kinds of strain they would reasonably undergo in, for instance, flexible electronics.

Their technique provides a way for industry to see just how nanowires made of gold, silver, tellurium, palladium and platinum are likely to hold up in next-generation nanoelectronic devices.

Lou and his team had already established that metal wires have unique properties on the nanoscale. They knew such wires undergo extensive plastic deformation and then fracture on both the micro- and nanoscale. In that process, materials under stress exhibit "necking"; that is, they deform in a specific region and then stretch down to a point before they eventually break.

"Gold is extremely ductile," said Lou, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. "That means you can stretch it, and it can withstand very large displacement.

"But in this work, we discovered that gold is not necessarily very ductile at the nanoscale. When we stress it in a slightly different way, we can form a defect called a twin."

The term "twinning" comes from the mirrorlike atomic structure of the defect, which is unique to crystals. "At the boundary, the atoms on the left and right sides exactly mirror each other," Lou said. Twins in nanowires show up as dark lines across the wire under an electron microscope.

"The material is not exactly brittle, like glass or ceramic, which fracture with no, or very little, ductility," he said. "In this case, we call it brittle-like, which means it has significantly reduced ductility. There's still some, but the fracture behavior is different from regular necking."

Their experiments on 22 gold wires of less than 20 nanometers involved the delicate operation of clamping them to a transmission electron microscope/atomic force microscope sample holder and then pulling them at constant loading speeds. Twins appeared under the shear component of the stress, which forced atoms to shift at the location of surface defects and led to a kind of nanoscale tectonic fault across the wire.

"Once you have those kinds of damage-initiation sites formed in the nanowire, you will have a lot less ductility. The metal will fracture prematurely," Lou said. "We didn't expect such twin-boundary formations would have such profound effects."

With current technology, it's nearly impossible to align the grip points on either side of the wire, so shear force on the nanowires was inevitable. "But this kind of loading mode will inevitably be encountered in the real world," he said. "We cannot imagine all the nanowires in an application will be stressed in a perfectly uniaxial way."

Lou said the results are important to manufacturers thinking of using gold as a nanomechanical element. "Realistically, you could have some off-axis angle of stress, and if these twins form, you would have less ductility than you would expect. Then the design criteria would have to change.

"That's basically the central message of this paper: Don't be fooled by the traditional definition of 'ductile,'" he said. "At the nanoscale, things can happen differently."

Lou's team included former Rice graduate student and the paper's first author, Yang Lu, now a postdoctoral researcher at MIT. Jun Song, an assistant professor at McGill University, and Jian Yu Huang, a scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, are co-authors of the paper.

Read the abstract at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adfm.201101224/abstract

High-resolution photos are available at http://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NEWSRELS/0826_Lou.jpg http://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NEWSRELS/0826_Twinning_closeup.jpg http://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NEWSRELS/0826_Twins_sequence.jpg

CAPTIONS:

(Lou)

Rice University Professor Jun Lou reported that gold nanowires don't behave the same way under stress as their macro-scale versions. (Credit: Rice University)

(Twinning closeup)

A single crystal nanowire shows evidence of twinning under tensile loading in this electron microscope image. A new study by the Rice University lab of Jun Lou determined that tiny gold wires change their behavior at the nanoscale. (Credit: Lou Lab/Rice University)

(Twins sequence)

This series of electron microscope images shows a gold nanowire with several twin boundaries, which show up as dark lines. The wire fractures at the site of a groove that appears at the bottom twin. (Credit: Lou Lab/Rice University)

Located on a 285-acre forested campus in Houston, Texas, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its "unconventional wisdom." With 3,485 undergraduates and 2,275 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is less than 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to

http://futureowls.rice.edu/images/futureowls/Rice_Brag_Sheet.pdf

David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
23.06.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>