Atomic insights into thickness-dependent deformation mechanism and mechanical properties of Ag/PMMA ultra-thin nanofilms

GJ Lin and WP Gao and PW Chen and WF Sun and SA Chizhik and AA Makhaniok and GB Melnikova and TA Kuznetsova, NANOSCALE ADVANCES, 5, 4934-4949 (2023).

DOI: 10.1039/d3na00295k

In this work, the nanoindentations on bilayer composite nanofilms composed of metal Ag and polymer PMMA were simulated using molecular dynamics. The effects of the thickness of Ag and PMMA on the elastic moduli of the composite films were analyzed from Hertz contact theory, dislocation evolution and atomic migration. The results show that the maximum penetration depth that the Hertz model could well describe is about 6 & ANGS;, and this limiting value is almost independent on the film thickness. The deformation mode of the Ag films gradually changes from bending mode to indentation mode with an increase in Ag thickness, which improves the elastic modulus of the composite films. The rule of mixtures could give a theoretical prediction about the elastic modulus of the composite film close to the nanoindentation, and Hertz theory could also be used as long as the thickness of Ag films exceeded a certain value. The introduction of a PMMA layer impedes the development of dislocation in the Ag layer and improves the elastic limit of the composite films. This work provides an important basis for experimentally measuring the overall elastic modulus of metal/polymer composite film based on nanoindentation or extracting the elastic modulus of metal film from the overall indentation response of the composite film. MD simulations of nanoindentation on bilayer composite films (Ag as the upper layer and PMMA as the lower layer) supported by an Si substrate were performed in order to determine the Young's moduli and deformation mechanisms of the composite films.

Return to Publications page