No Access Submitted: 20 March 2020 Accepted: 12 May 2020 Published Online: 27 May 2020
Journal of Applied Physics 127, 204301 (2020);
This paper reveals the existence of a critical separation distance ( d c) beyond which the elastic interactions between a pair of monovacancies in graphene or hexagonal boron nitride become inconsequential for the strength and toughness of the defective lattice. This distance is independent of the chirality of the lattice. For any inter-defect distance higher than d c, the lattice behaves mechanically as if there is a single defect. For a distance less than d c, the defect–defect elastic interactions produce distinctive mechanical behavior depending on the orientation ( θ) of the defect pair relative to the loading direction. Both strength and toughness of the lattice containing a pair of “interacting monovacancies (iMVs)” are either higher or smaller than that of the lattice containing a pair of “non-interacting monovacancies (nMVs),” suggesting the existence of a critical orientation angle θ c. For θ < θ c, the smaller the distance between the iMVs, the higher the toughness and strength compared to the lattice containing nMVs, whereas, for θ θ c, the smaller the separation distance between the iMVs, the smaller the toughness and strength compared to the lattice containing nMVs. The transitional behavior has a negligible dependence on the chirality of the lattice, which indicates that the crystallographic anisotropy has a much weaker influence on toughness and strength compared to the anisotropy induced by the orientation angle itself. These observations underline an important point that the elastic fields emanating from vacancy defects are highly localized and fully contained within a small region of around 1.5 nm radius.
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