Defect-Detriment to Graphene Strength Is Concealed by Local Probe: The Topological and Geometrical Effects

ZG Song and VI Artyukhov and J Wu and BI Yakobson and ZP Xu, ACS NANO, 9, 401-408 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/nn505510r

Defects in solids commonly limit mechanical performance of materials by reducing their rigidity and strength. However, topological defects also induce a prominent geometrical effect in addition to local stress buildup, which is especially pronounced in two-dimensional crystals. These dual roles of defects modulate mechanical responses of the material under local and global probes in very different ways. We demonstrate through atomistic simulations and theoretical analysis that local response of two-dimensional crystals can even be stiffened and strengthened by topological defects as the structure under indentation features a positive Gaussian curvature, while softened and weakened mechanical responses are measured at locations with negative Gaussian curvatures. These findings shed lights on mechanical characterization of two-dimensional materials in general. The geometrical effect of topological defects also adds a new dimension to material design, in the scenario of geometrical and topological engineering.

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