Surface stress effects on the mechanical properties of silicon nanowires: A molecular dynamics simulation

Mohammad Nasr Esfahani*

*Corresponding author for this work

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A primary challenge to use silicon nanowires as a truly potential building block in nanoscale devices is the implementation of scale effects into operational performance. Therefore, surface stress effects - as a direct result of size reduction - on transport properties became a major field of study. Previous computational simulations have focused so far on geometrical parameters with symmetrical cross sections, while silicon nanowires with nonsymmetrical cross sections are the major result of top-down fabrication techniques. A recent study has drawn a new aspect on the role played by the surface stress with a torsional profile on silicon nanowires to address the existing controversy from experimental and computational studies. Motivated by its success, the implications of this surface stress profile on the tensile properties of silicon nanowires are studied through molecular dynamics simulations. Deformation associated with the surface stress is computed for different length-to-thickness and width-to-thickness ratios. Then, tensile properties are investigated for a constant strain rate. Atomic calculations are carried out on silicon nanowires along the ⟨ 100 ⟩ crystal orientation for fixed-fixed and fixed-free boundary conditions. A combination of compressive uniaxial surface stress and torsional surface stress contributes to the mechanical behavior of silicon nanowires. A transition on elastic properties is obtained through changing the cross section from square to rectangular configuration. Further to addressing the controversy regarding the contribution of the surface stress on the mechanical properties, limits associated with available analytical approaches are highlighted for silicon nanowires.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135101
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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