Atomic vacancies significantly degrade the mechanical properties of phosphorene

ZD Sha and QX Pei and YY Zhang and YW Zhang, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 27, 315704 (2016).

DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/31/315704

Due to low formation energies, it is very easy to create atomic defects in phosphorene during its fabrication process. How these atomic defects affect its mechanical behavior, however, remain unknown. Here, we report on a systematic study of the effect of atomic vacancies on the mechanical properties and failure behavior of phosphorene using molecular dynamics simulations. It is found that atomic vacancies induce local stress concentration and cause early bond-breaking, leading to a significant degradation of the mechanical properties of the material. More specifically, a 2% concentration of randomly distributed mono- vacancies is able to reduce the fracture strength by similar to 40%. An increase in temperature from 10 to 400 K can further deteriorate the fracture strength by similar to 60%. The fracture strength of defective phosphorene is also found to be affected by defect distribution. When the defects are patterned in a line, the reduction in fracture strength greatly depends on the tilt angle and the loading direction. Furthermore, we find that di-vacancies cause an even larger reduction in fracture strength than mono-vacancies when the loading is in an armchair direction. These findings provide important guidelines for the structural design of phosphorene in future applications.

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