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    The surface bond nature of face centered cubic metals has been controversial between hardening and softening theoretically because of the lack of precise measurement. Here, we precisely measured the size dependence of Young's modulus of gold [111] nanocontacts with a clean surface by our in situ TEM-frequency modulation force sensing method in ultrahigh vacuum at room temperature. Young's modulus gradually decreased from ca. 80 to 30 GPa, as the nanocontact width decreased below 2 nm, which could be explained by surface softening; Young's modulus of the outermost atomic layer was estimated to be approximately 22 GPa, while that of the other part was almost the same with the bulk.


    Jiaqi Zhang, Masahiko Tomitori, Toyoko Arai, Yoshifumi Oshima. Surface Effect on Young's Modulus of Sub-Two-Nanometer Gold [111] Nanocontacts. Physical review letters. 2022 Apr 08;128(14):146101

    PMID: 35476491

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