Enhanced Mechanical Stability of Gold Nanotips through Carbon Nanocone Encapsulation

AG Cano-Marquez and WG Schmidt and J Ribeiro-Soares and LG Cancado and WN Rodrigues and AP Santos and CA Furtado and PAS Autreto and R Paupitz and DS Galvao and A Jorio, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5, 10408 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/srep10408

Gold is a noble metal that, in comparison with silver and copper, has the advantage of corrosion resistance. Despite its high conductivity, chemical stability and biocompatibility, gold exhibits high plasticity, which limits its applications in some nanodevices. Here, we report an experimental and theoretical study on how to attain enhanced mechanical stability of gold nanotips. The gold tips were fabricated by chemical etching and further encapsulated with carbon nanocones via nanomanipulation. Atomic force microscopy experiments were carried out to test their mechanical stability. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the encapsulated nanocone changes the strain release mechanisms at the nanoscale by blocking gold atomic sliding, redistributing the strain along the whole nanostructure. The carbon nanocones are conducting and can induce magnetism, thus opening new avenues on the exploitation of transport, mechanical and magnetic properties of gold covered by sp(2) carbon at the nanoscale.

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