As circuitry approaches single nanometer length scales, it has become important to predict the stability of single nanometer-sized metals. The behavior of metals at larger scales can be predicted based on the behavior of dislocations, but it is unclear if dislocations can form and be sustained at single nanometer dimensions. Here, we report the formation of dislocations within individual 3.9 nm Au nanocrystals under nonhydrostatic pressure in a diamond anvil cell. We used a combination of X-ray diffraction, optical absorbance spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics simulation to characterize the defects that are formed, which were found to be surface-nucleated partial dislocations. These results indicate that dislocations are still active at single nanometer length scales and can lead to permanent plasticity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Zhongwu Wang at Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source for supporting this project. X. W. G. and A. P. acknowledge financial support from Stanford start-up funds. The Advanced Light Source is supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. Beam line 12.2.2 is partially supported by COMPRES, the Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences under NSF Cooperative Agreement No. EAR 1606856. Part of this work was performed at the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities (SNSF), supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ECCS-1542152. M. T. K. is supported by the National Defense and Science Engineering Graduate Fellowship. D. D. is supported by the NSF Graduate Fellowship. S. L. and S. R. are supported by the Basic Science Research Program (No. 2019R1A2C4070690) and Creative Materials Discovery Program (No. 2016M3D1A1900038) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF). L. A. H. and K. A. H. acknowledge financial support from Trinity College.
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