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Young's Modulus of Nanowires Measured by Electrostatic Attraction: Application to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

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An electrostatic experiment, performed inside a Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with two electrical probes, is used for the accurate determination of the Young's modulus of as-grown nanowires. One electrode being in contact with the substrate and the other one at close distance to the nanowire's tip, an electrical bias was slowly ramped up to attract and eventually bring the nanowire into contact with the attracting probe. While the SEM was shut down during this procedure to avoid electrical perturbation, the threshold bias that results in the eventual contact was determined from an I-V curve recorded simultaneously. Despite the impossibility of visualizing the nanowire's motion during this operation, a direct relationship can be established between that threshold bias, the corresponding deflection and the nanowire's Young's modulus. This technique, consisting essentially of two SEM images and one I-V curve, was applied to multi-walled carbon nanotubes of various lengths and orientations and resulted in an accurate Young’s modulus of 0.92 +/- 0.28 TPa.

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Keywords: Young's modulus; carbon nanotubes; electrostatic attraction; nanowires'

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Current Nanoscience publishes authoritative reviews and original research reports, written by experts in the field on all the most recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology. All aspects of the field are represented including nano- structures, synthesis, properties, assembly and devices. Applications of nanoscience in biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceuticals, physics, material science and electronics are also covered. The journal is essential to all involved in nanoscience and its applied areas.
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