STM verification of the reduction of the Young's modulus of CdS nanoparticles at smaller sizes

A. Hazarika, E. Peretz, V. Dikovsky, P. K. Santra, R. Z. Shneck, D. D. Sarma, Y. Manassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We demonstrate the first STM evaluation of the Young's modulus (E) of nanoparticles (NPs) of different sizes. The sample deformation induced by tip-sample interaction has been determined using current-distance (I-Z) spectroscopy. As a result of tip-sample interaction, and the induced surface deformations, the I-z curves deviates from pure exponential dependence. Normally, in order to analyze the deformation quantitatively, the tip radius must be known. We show, that this necessity is eliminated by measuring the deformation on a substrate with a known Young's modulus (Au(111)) and estimating the tip radius, and afterwards, using the same tip (with a known radius) to measure the (unknown) Young's modulus of another sample (nanoparticles of CdS). The Young's modulus values found for 3 NP's samples of average diameters of 3.7, 6 and 7.5 nm, were E ~ 73%, 78% and 88% of the bulk value, respectively. These results are in a good agreement with the theoretically predicted reduction of the Young's modulus due to the changes in hydrostatic stresses which resulted from surface tension in nanoparticles with different sizes. Our calculation using third order elastic constants gives a reduction of E which scales linearly with 1/r (r is the NP's radius). This demonstrates the applicability of scanning tunneling spectroscopy for local mechanical characterization of nanoobjects. The method does not include a direct measurement of the tip-sample force but is rather based on the study of the relative elastic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalSurface Science
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Nanoparticles
  • The Morse force
  • The Young's modulus
  • Tunneling current-distance spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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