Mechanical properties of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) particles

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Jiang, Taizhi
Khabaz, Fardin
Marne, Aniket
Wu, Chenglin
Gearba, Raluca
Bodepudi, Revanth
Bonnecaze, Roger T.
Liechti, Kenneth M.
Korgel, Brain A.

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A nanoindenter was used to compress individual particles of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) ranging in diameter from 290 nm to 780 nm. The colloidal synthesis used to produce the particles enables the hydrogen content to be manipulated over a wide range, from about 5 at. % to 50 at. %, making these a-Si:H particles promising for applications in lithium ion batteries, hydrogen storage, and optical metamaterials. Force-displacement curves generated using a tungsten probe flattened with focused ion beam exhibited elastic and then plastic deformations, followed by fracture and crushing of the particles. For particles with 5% and 50% H, Young's moduli, yield strengths, and compressive strengths were 73.5(±19.5) GPa, 5.8 GPa, and 3.2(±0.1)–9.3(±0.6) GPa and 31.2(±9.0) GPa, 2.5 GPa, and 1.8 (±0.3)–5.3(±0.8) GPa, respectively. Particles with more hydrogen were significantly more compliant and weaker. This is consistent with atomistically detailed molecular dynamics simulations, which revealed compression forms of an interphase of H atom clusters that weakens the material.



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Jiang, TZ; Khabaz, F; Marne, A; Wu, CL; Gearba, R; Bodepudi, R; Bonnecaze, RT; Liechti, KM; Korgel, BA. Mechanical properties of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) particles. J. Appl. Phys. 2019, 126(20), 204303. DOI: 10.1063/1.5117282.