Monomolecular wire cutting of copper nanocolumns via carbyne

SW Cranford, EXTREME MECHANICS LETTERS, 40, 100922 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.eml.2020.100922

In many sci-fi works, a monomolecular wire - a single chain of atoms - is "sharp" enough to slice through any material, no matter how strong. Carbyne - a one-dimensional monoatomistic chain of sp-hybridized carbon atoms - reflects an extreme minimalist molecular chain. Carbyne is also known to have a relatively high axial tensile stiffness and, due to its monoatomistic cross-section, incredible specific strength and high surface area per given mass. We propose its use as a cutting instrument - e.g., a monomolecular slicing wire. Herein, we construct and model a simple arrangement of a copper nanocolumn set perpendicular to a carbyne thread. We proceed to move the wire normal to the copper surface, testing the cutting efficacy of the wire. We vary both the width of copper column, as well as the length of cutting wire, to parametrically explore cutting conditions. We further develop and validate a general energy-based mechanical model to predict cutting limits, enabling predictions for other material systems, based on a simple energy balance, resulting in a simple relation for critical cutting "stroke". (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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