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Centimetre-scale crack-free self-assembly for ultra-high tensile strength metallic nanolattices


Nanolattices exhibit attractive mechanical, energy conversion and optical properties, but it is challenging to fabricate large nanolattices while maintaining the dense regular nanometre features that enable their properties. Here we report a crack-free self-assembly approach for fabricating centimetre-scale nickel nanolattices with much larger crack-free areas than prior self-assembled nanolattices and many more unit cells than three-dimensionally printed nanolattices. These nickel nanolattices have a feature size of 100 nm, a grain size of 30 nm and a tensile strength of 260 MPa, which approaches the theoretical strength limit for porous nickel. The self-assembly method and porous metal mechanics reported in this work may advance the fabrication and applications of high-strength multifunctional porous materials.

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Fig. 1: A comparison of the WE method for fabricating inverted-crack-free metal nanolattices with the conventional method.
Fig. 2: Physical and optical characterization of inverted-crack-free nickel nanolattices.
Fig. 3: Tensile properties of nickel nanolattices.
Fig. 4: The nickel nanolattice properties compared with other porous metals and nanolattices.

Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We thank J. L. Bassani for insightful discussions on mechanics, D. Lee and J. Rosenfeld for helpful discussions on zeta potential characterization and L. Yang for discussions on particle synthesis. This work was partially funded by the pilot grant programme from the Center for Innovation and Precision Dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, by the National Science Foundation under CAREER Grant no. 1943243 and by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Applied Mechanics Division Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Initiation Grant (J.H.P. and Z.J.). This work was carried out in part at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, which is supported by the National Science Foundation National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure Program under grant NNCI-1542153.

Author information




Z.J. and J.H.P conceived the idea. Z.J. designed and performed the experiments, and J.H.P directed the project. All authors analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to James H. Pikul.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–34, Sections 1–28 and Tables 1–8.

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Jiang, Z., Pikul, J.H. Centimetre-scale crack-free self-assembly for ultra-high tensile strength metallic nanolattices. Nat. Mater. (2021).

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