Atomistic measurement and modeling of intrinsic fracture toughness of two-dimensional materials

Xu Zhang, Hoang Nguyen, Xiang Zhang, Pulickel M. Ajayan, Jianguo Wen*, Horacio D. Espinosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Quantifying the intrinsic mechanical properties of two-dimensional (2D) materials is essential to predict the long-term reliability of materials and systems in emerging applications ranging from energy to health to next-generation sensors and electronics. Currently, measurements of fracture toughness and identification of associated atomistic mechanisms remain challenging. Herein, we report an integrated experimental-computational framework in which in-situ high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) measurements of the intrinsic fracture energy of monolayer MoS2 and MoSe2 are in good agreement with atomistic model predictions based on an accurately parameterized interatomic potential. Changes in crystalline structures at the crack tip and crack edges, as observed in in-situ HRTEM crack extension tests, are properly predicted. Such a good agreement is the result of including large deformation pathways and phase transitions in the parameterization of the inter-atomic potential. The established framework emerges as a robust approach to determine the predictive capabilities of molecular dynamics models employed in the screening of 2D materials, in the spirit of the materials genome initiative. Moreover, it enables device-level predictions with superior accuracy (e.g., fatigue lifetime predictions of electro- and opto-electronic nanodevices).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2206756119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 8 2022


  • atomistic
  • atomistic measurements
  • bond dissociation
  • fracture energy
  • integral
  • transition metal dichalcogenide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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