Nanotech 2010

Mechanical Characterization of Metallic Nanowires by Combining Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

E. Celik, E. Madenci
The University of Arizona, US

Keywords: mechanical, testing, nanowires, AFM, SEM


Mechanical characterization of nanowires still poses challenges due to their small length scale. Existing nanowire mechanical characterization techniques in literature can be grouped as: 1) resonation of nanowires in an electron microscope, 2) mechanical characterization via axial loading and 3) bending of nanowires using atomic force microscope. The first technique is applicable to obtain only elastic properties. The second method requires significant amount of specimen preparation time and is not practical for testing of high number of nanowire specimens. The third method suffers from the inability to image nanowires during testing. This study combines the mechanical testing capability of AFM with the imaging capability of SEM. The tip of the AFM cantilever is utilized to bend and break the nanowires. The experimental force versus bending displacement data is invoked into the analytical formulations to extract the mechanical properties. Numerical simulation techniques are also utilized in order to investigate deformation mechanisms of nanowires. Preliminary results have revealed that copper nanowires prepared by electroplating technique has exceptional mechanical properties such as high yield and ultimate strengths and low elastic modulus compared to bulk copper.
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