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Towards nanoreliability of sensors incorporating interfaces between single-walled carbon nanotubes and metals: Molecular dynamics simulations and in situ experiments using electron microscopy

: Hartmann, S.; Hermann, S.; Bonitz, J.; Heggen, M.; Hölck, O.; Shaporin, A.; Mehner, J.; Schulz, S.E.; Gessner, T.; Wunderle, B.


Mechatronics 40 (2016), pp.270-280
ISSN: 0957-4158
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IZM ()
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

In this paper we present results of our recent efforts to understand the mechanical interface behaviour of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) embedded in metal matrices. We conducted experimental pull-out tests of SWCNTs embedded in Pd and found maximum forces in the range F ≈ (10 to 65) nN. These values are in good agreement with forces obtained from molecular dynamics simulations taking into account surface functional groups (SFGs) covalently linked to the SWCNT material. The dominant failure mode in experiment is a SWCNT rupture, which can be explained with the presence of SFGs. For further in depth investigations, we present a tensile actuation test system based on a thermal actuator to perform pull-out tests inside a transmission electron microscope with the objective to obtain in situ images of SWCNT–metal interfaces under mechanical loads at the atomic scale. First experiments confirmed the presence of suspended thin metal electrodes to embed SWCNTs. These suspended thin metal electrodes are electron transparent at the designated SWCNT locations. Actuator movements were evaluated by digital image correlation and we observed systematic actuator movements. Although significant image drifts occured during actuation, we achieved atomic resolution of the metal electrode and stable movement in the focal plane of the electron microscope.