In-situ TEM study of mechanical behaviour of twinned nanoparticles
There is strong interest in studying changes in mechanical properties with reducing grain size. The rational is that consequent dislocation glide cannot be sustained, resulting in an increase in material strength. However, this comes with the cost of a reduction in ductility. It has been shown that coherent twin boundaries in nanostructured Cu improve the ductility to 14% [Lu et al., Science 324 (2009) p. 349]. In this paper, we report for the first time the compression of individual nanoparticles using an in situ force probing holder in the transmission electron microscope. Four types of nanoparticles were tested, three with twin boundaries (decahedra, icosahedra and a single twin) and one free of defects (octahedral). Our results indicate the yield strength of the twinned nanoparticles is between 0.5 and 2.0 GPa. The total malleability for the twinned particles range from 80 to 100%. In addition, experimental results were reproduced by MD simulations of the compression phenomena and suggest that the outstanding mechanical properties are related with partial dislocation multiplication at twin boundaries.