Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Electrochemical Mechanics of Metal Thin Films: Charge‐Induced Reversible Surface Stress for Actuation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Chuan ChengORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The intrinsic charge-induced surface stress of Ni thin films during electrochemical reactions with an alkaline electrolyte is measured in situ. Surface stresses induced by H absorption/desorption, α-Ni(OH)2 formation, capacitive double-layer charging, the α- to β-Ni(OH)2 transformation, and β-Ni(OH)2/β-NiOOH redox reactions are identified, and each provided additive contributions to the overall stress state. Surface stresses are magnified in high-surface-area nanoporous Ni because local stress-relaxation mechanisms are restricted when compared to a smooth Ni film. Ni film reversible tensile/compressive surface stresses correlate with anodic/cathodic potential scanning but with an opposite trend to that of a less reactive Au film. Surface stresses in the Ni films are up to 40 times that of Au films and suggest the possibility of using controlled surface-stress generation for electrochemical actuation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cheng C, Grant PS, Lührs L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advanced Electronic Materials

Year: 2020

Volume: 6

Print publication date: 01/01/2020

Online publication date: 18/11/2019

Acceptance date: 04/11/2019

Date deposited: 02/02/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2199-160X

Publisher: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA


DOI: 10.1002/aelm.201900364


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Projekt DEAL