Direct Nanomechanical Machining of Gold Nanowires Using a Nanoindenter and an Atomic Force Microscope

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Nanomechanical characterization of gold nanowires with a height of 160 nm, width of 350 nm and length of 5 µm has been carried out. Hardness and elastic modulus of the unreleased wires were measured by nanoindentation techniques using a nanoindenter. Post-fabrication mechanical machining of the gold nanowires is demonstrated. An array of nanoscale indents was successfully made on the gold nanowires. Nanochannels, nanoslots and complex nanopatterns were fabricated on a single gold nanowire by directly scratching/sliding the wire surface with the atomic force microscope (AFM) tip. Bending tests were performed to generate nanogaps on the wires using the nanoindenter. Direct machining techniques using a nanoindenter and an AFM should find more applications in the integration and manufacturing of micro/nanodevices.