Adhesion of single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes to silicon substrate: atomistic simulations and continuum analysis

XB Yuan and YS Wang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D-APPLIED PHYSICS, 50, 395303 (2017).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/aa81b0

The radial deformation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) adhering to a substrate may prominently affect their mechanical and physical properties. In this study, both classical atomistic simulations and continuum analysis are carried out, to investigate the lateral adhesion of single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) and multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs) to a silicon substrate. A linear elastic model for analyzing the adhesion of 2D shells to a rigid semi-infinite substrate is constructed in the framework of continuum mechanics. Good agreement is achieved between the cross-section profiles of adhesive CNTs obtained by the continuum model and by the atomistic simulation approach. It is found that the adhesion of a CNT to the silicon substrate is significantly influenced by its initial diameter and the number of walls. CNTs with radius larger than a certain critical radius are deformed radially on the silicon substrate with flat contact regions. With increasing number of walls, the extent of radial deformation of a MWCNT on the substrate decreases dramatically, and the flat contact area reduces-and eventually vanishes- due to increasing equivalent bending stiffness. It is analytically predicted that large-diameter MWCNTs with a large number of walls are likely to 'stand' on the silicon substrate. The present work can be useful for understanding the radial deformation of CNTs adhering to a solid planar substrate.

Return to Publications page