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 Serendipity uncovers borophene's potential
23.02.2017 | Northwestern University

nachricht Switched-on DNA
20.02.2017 | Arizona State University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>