A molecular simulation analysis of producing monatomic carbon chains by stretching ultranarrow graphene nanoribbons

ZA Qi and FP Zhao and XZ Zhou and ZH Sun and HS Park and HA Wu, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 21, 265702 (2010).

DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/26/265702

Atomistic simulations were utilized to develop fundamental insights regarding the elongation process starting from ultranarrow graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) and resulting in monatomic carbon chains (MACCs). There are three key findings. First, we demonstrate that complete, elongated, and stable MACCs with fracture strains exceeding 100% can be formed from both ultranarrow armchair and zigzag GNRs. Second, we demonstrate that the deformation processes leading to the MACCs have strong chirality dependence. Specifically, armchair GNRs first form DNA- like chains, then develop into monatomic chains by passing through an intermediate configuration in which monatomic chain sections are separated by two-atom attachments. In contrast, zigzag GNRs form rope- ladder-like chains through a process in which the carbon hexagons are first elongated into rectangles; these rectangles eventually coalesce into monatomic chains through a novel triangle-pentagon deformation structure under further tensile deformation. Finally, we show that the width of GNRs plays an important role in the formation of MACCs, and that the ultranarrow GNRs facilitate the formation of full MACCs. The present work should be of considerable interest due to the experimentally demonstrated feasibility of using narrow GNRs to fabricate novel nanoelectronic components based upon monatomic chains of carbon atoms.

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