Stochastic Stress Jumps Due to Soliton Dynamics in Two-Dimensional van der Waals Interfaces

Sunphil Kim, Emil Annevelink, Edmund Han, Jaehyung Yu, Pinshane Y. Huang, Elif Ertekin, Arend M. Van Der Zande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The creation and movement of dislocations determine the nonlinear mechanics of materials. At the nanoscale, the number of dislocations in structures become countable, and even single defects impact material properties. While the impact of solitons on electronic properties is well studied, the impact of solitons on mechanics is less understood. In this study, we construct nanoelectromechanical drumhead resonators from Bernal stacked bilayer graphene and observe stochastic jumps in frequency. Similar frequency jumps occur in few-layer but not twisted bilayer or monolayer graphene. Using atomistic simulations, we show that the measured shifts are a result of changes in stress due to the creation and annihilation of individual solitons. We develop a simple model relating the magnitude of the stress induced by soliton dynamics across length scales, ranging from <0.01 N/m for the measured 5 μm diameter to â 1.2 N/m for the 38.7 nm simulations. These results demonstrate the sensitivity of 2D resonators are sufficient to probe the nonlinear mechanics of single dislocations in an atomic membrane and provide a model to understand the interfacial mechanics of different kinds of van der Waals structures under stress, which is important to many emerging applications such as engineering quantum states through electromechanical manipulation and mechanical devices like highly tunable nanoelectromechanical systems, stretchable electronics, and origami nanomachines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1207
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 12 2020


  • Dislocation
  • Graphene
  • NEMS
  • Nanomechanics
  • Nonlinear Mechanics
  • Solitons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


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