Quantitative in-situ scanning electron microscope pull-out experiments and molecular dynamics simulations of carbon nanotubes embedded in palladium

S Hartmann and T Blaudeck and O Holck and S Hermann and SE Schulz and T Gessner and B Wunderle, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 115, 144301 (2014).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4870871

In this paper, we present our results of experimental and numerical pull-out tests on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) embedded in palladium. We prepared simple specimens by employing standard silicon wafers, physical vapor deposition of palladium and deposition of CNTs with a simple drop coating technique. An AFM cantilever with known stiffness connected to a nanomanipulation system was utilized inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM) as a force sensor to determine forces acting on a CNT during the pull-out process. SEM-images of the cantilever attached to a CNT have been evaluated for subsequent displacement steps with greyscale correlation to determine the cantilever deflection. We compare the experimentally obtained pull-out forces with values of numerical investigations by means of molecular dynamics and give interpretations for deviations according to material impurities or defects and their influence on the pull-out data. We find a very good agreement of force data from simulation and experiment, which is 17 nN and in the range of 10-61 nN, respectively. Our findings contribute to the ongoing research of the mechanical characterization of CNT-metal interfaces. This is of significant interest for the design of future mechanical sensors utilizing the intrinsic piezoresistive effect of CNTs or other future devices incorporating CNT-metal interfaces. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

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