Direct atomic-scale imaging about the mechanisms of ultralarge bent straining in Si nanowires

Nano Lett. 2011 Jun 8;11(6):2382-5. doi: 10.1021/nl200735p. Epub 2011 May 5.


To safely and reliably use nanowires (NWs) for exploring new functions for different nanodevices, the mechanical properties and structural evolution of the nanowires under external stress become highly important. Large strain (up to 14%) bending experiments of Si NWs were conducted in a high-resolution transmission electron microscope at atomic resolution. The direct dynamic atomic-scale observations revealed that partial and full dislocation nucleation, motion, escape, and interaction were responsible for absorbing the ultralarge strain of up to 14% in bent Si nanowires. The prevalent full dislocation movement and interactions induced the formation of Lomer lock dislocations in the Si NWs. Finally, in contrast to the unlock process of Lomer dislocations that can happen in metallic materials, we revealed that the continuous straining on the Lomer dislocations induced a crystal-amorphous (c-a) transition in Si NWs. Our results provide direct explanation about the ultralarge straining ability of Si at the nanometer scale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Nanowires / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Silicon / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Silicon