Critical size for fracture during solid-solid phase transformations

David Zaziski, Stephen Prilliman, Erik C. Scher, Maria Casula, Juanita Wicknam, Simon M. Clark, A. Paul Alivisatos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The study of nanoscale materials with well-controlled size and shape can be used to learn more about critical length scales for numerous physical and chemical phenomena in solids and extended systems.1,2 Small nanocrystals (below 5-nm diameter) have been shown to exhibit fully reversible single-domain structural phase transformations with large volume changes over multiple cycles. The same transformations in extended solids are accompanied by irreversible domain formation.3-5 Here we investigate the crossover between these regimes by studying a pressure-induced structural transformation in 4-nm-diameter nanorods varying in aspect ratio from 1 to 10. We find that above a critical length the nanorods fracture at the moment of the structural transformation. This work demonstrates the use of simple, well-defined nanoscale systems to examine fundamental structural phenomena found in extended solids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-946
Number of pages4
JournalNano Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


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