Anisotropic surface strain in single crystalline cobalt nanowires and its impact on the diameter-dependent Young's modulus
Understanding and measuring the size-dependent surface strain of nanowires are essential to their applications in various emerging devices. Here, we report on the diameter-dependent surface strain and Young's modulus of single-crystalline Co nanowires investigated by in situ X-ray diffraction measurements. Diameter-dependent initial longitudinal elongation of the nanowires is observed and ascribed to the anisotropic surface stress due to the Poisson effect, which serves as the basis for mechanical measurements. As the nanowire diameter decreases, a transition from the “smaller is softer” regime to the “smaller is tougher” regime is observed in the Young's modulus of the nanowires, which is attributed to the competition between the elongation softening and the surface stiffening effects. Our work demonstrates a new nondestructive method capable of measuring the initial surface strain and estimating the Young's modulus of single crystalline nanowires, and provides new insights on the size effect.