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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mechanical Properties of Nanocrystal Supercrystals


Colloidal nanocrystals attract significant interest due to their potential applications in electronic, magnetic, and optical devices. Nanocrystal supercrystals (NCSCs) are particularly appealing for their well ordered structure and homogeneity. The interactions between organic ligands that passivate the inorganic nanocrystal cores critically influence their self-organization into supercrystals, By investigating the mechanical properties of supercrystals, we can directly characterize the particle-particle interactions in a well-defined geometry, and gain insight into both the self-assembly process and the potential applications of nanocrystal supercrystals. Here we report nanoindentation studies of well ordered lead-sulfide (Pbs) nanocrystal supercrystals. Their modulus and hardness were found to be similar to soft polymers at 1.7 GPa and 70 MPa respectively and the fractures toughness was 39 KPa/m1/2, revealing the extremely brittle nature of these materials.

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