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Approaching the ideal elastic strain limit in silicon nanowires

Yang Lu's picture

In our new paper published on Science Advances, we carefully measured the elastic mechanical properties of individual silicon nanowires by uniaxial tensile straining under both SEM and high-res optical microscope, and demonstrated that high quality VLS–grown single-crystalline Si nanowires with diameters of ~100 nm can be reversibly stretched at room temperature with 10% or more elastic strain, approaching the theoretical limit of silicon. 

The ability to achieve this “deep ultra-strength” for Si nanowires can be attributed mainly to their pristine, defect-scarce, nanosized single-crystalline structure and atomically smooth surfaces. This extraordinary elasticity in Si nanowires, presumably in other semiconductor nanowires, will open the doors for the emerging field of “elastic strain engineering,” and flexible bio- and nano-electronics. 

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