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Water Molecule-Induced Stiffening in ZnO Nanobelts

Xiaodong Li's picture

We report the observation of remarkable water molecule-induced stiffening in ZnO nanobelts using atomic force microscopy three-point bending test. It was found that the elastic modulus of ZnO nanobelts could increase significantly from 40 GPa under ambient condition up to 88 GPa at the relative humidity level of 80%. The physical mechanism for this phenomenon was explained in terms of increasing surface stress induced by water molecule adsorption on ZnO nanobelt surface. Our first-principles density functional theory calculations revealed that the water molecules adsorbed on the ZnO surface would attract surface Zn atoms to move outward and hence increase the value of surface stress of ZnO surface. For more details, please see 

Yingchao Yang, Guofeng Wang, and Xiaodong Li, Water Molecule-Induced Stiffening in ZnO Nanobelts, Nano Letters, 11 (2011) 2845–2848

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