Nucleation of misfit dislocations and plastic deformation in core/shell nanowires

K. E. Aifantis, A. L. Kolesnikova, A. E. Romanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


During fabrication of metal nanowires, an oxide layer (shell) that surrounds the metal (core) may form. Such an oxide-covered nanowire can be viewed as a cylindrical core/shell nanostructure, possessing a crystal lattice mismatch between the core and shell. Experimental evidence has shown that, in response to this mismatch, mechanical stresses induce plastic deformation in the shell and misfit dislocations nucleate at the core/shell interface. As a result, the mechanical, electrical and optoelectronic properties of the nanowire are affected. It is therefore essential to be able to predict the critical conditions at which misfit dislocation nucleation at the nanowire interface takes place and the critical applied load at which the interface begins deforming plastically. Two approaches are explored in order to analyze the stress relaxation processes in these oxide-covered nanowires: (i) energy considerations are carried out within a classical elasticity framework to predict the critical radii (of the core and shell) at which dislocation nucleation takes place at the nanowire interface; (ii) a strain gradient plasticity approach is applied to estimate the flow stress at which the interface will begin deforming plastically (this stress is termed "interfacial-yield" stress). The interfacial-yield stress, predicted by gradient plasticity, depends, among other material parameters, on the radii of the core and shell. Both approaches demonstrate how the geometric parameters of nanowires can be calibrated so as to avoid undesirable plastic deformation; in particular, method (i) can give the radii values that prevent misfit dislocation formation, whereas method (ii) can provide, for particular radii values, the critical stress at which interface deformation initiates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4731-4757
Number of pages27
JournalPhilosophical Magazine
Issue number30
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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