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Open Access Nano Express

Elastic Properties of 4–6 nm-thick Glassy Carbon Thin Films

MP Manoharan1, H Lee2, R Rajagopalan2, HC Foley3 and MA Haque1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802, USA

2 Materials Research Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802, USA

3 Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802, USA

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 5:14-19  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9435-2

Published: 23 September 2009

Abstract

Glassy carbon is a disordered, nanoporous form of carbon with superior thermal and chemical stability in extreme environments. Freestanding glassy carbon specimens with 4–6 nm thickness and 0.5 nm average pore size were synthesized and fabricated from polyfurfuryl alcohol precursors. Elastic properties of the specimens were measured in situ inside a scanning electron microscope using a custom-built micro-electro-mechanical system. The Young’s modulus, fracture stress and strain values were measured to be about 62 GPa, 870 MPa and 1.3%, respectively; showing strong size effects compared to a modulus value of 30 GPa at the bulk scale. This size effect is explained on the basis of the increased significance of surface elastic properties at the nanometer length-scale.

Keywords:
Young’s modulus; Glassy carbon; Thin film; Size effect