The Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM) is an institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) founded in December 1986, that belongs to the Area of Science and Technology of Materials, one of the eight Areas in which the CSIC divides its research activities.


Our mission is to create new fundamental and applied knowledge in materials of high technological impact, their processing and their transfer to the productive sectors at local, national and European scales (the true value of materials is in their use), the training of new professionals, and the dissemination of the scientific knowledge.

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Forthcoming Events


PN junctions based on atomically thin two-dimensional materials
Riccardo Frisenda   read more


Celebrating the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017
“Cryoelectron microscopy: the coming of age of a structural biology technique”

José María Valpuesta  read more


¿Por qué es necesario el 11 de febrero?
Pilar López Sancho  read more

Mapping stress in polycrystals with sub-10 nm spatial resolution

C. Polop, E. Vasco, A. P. Perrino and R. Garcia

From aircraft to electronic devices, and even in Formula One cars, stress is the main cause of degraded material performance and mechanical failure in applications incorporating thin films and coatings. Over the last two decades, the scientific community has searched for the mechanisms responsible for stress generation in films, with no consensus in sight. The main difficulty is that most current models of stress generation, while atomistic in nature, are based on macroscopic measurements. Here, we demonstrate a novel method for mapping the stress at the surface of polycrystals with sub-10 nm spatial resolution. This method consists of transforming elastic modulus maps measured by atomic force microscopy techniques into stress maps via the local stress-stiffening effect. The validity of this approach is supported by finite element modeling simulations. Our study reveals a strongly heterogeneous distribution of intrinsic stress in polycrystalline Au films, with gradients as high as 100 MPa nm-1 near the grain boundaries. Consequently, our study discloses the limited capacity of macroscopic stress assessments and standard tests to discriminate among models, and the great potential of nanometer-scale stress mapping.

Nanoscale, 2017

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ICMM-2017 - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 3, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34 91 334 9000. info@icmm.csic.es