We have investigated the mechanical stability of nanoporous gold (npg) in an electrochemical environment, using in situ dilatometry and compression experiments. It is demonstrated that the gold nano-ligaments creep under the action of surface stress which leads to spontaneous volume contractions in macroscopic npg samples. The creep of npg, under or without external forces, can be controlled electrochemically. The creep rate increases with increasing potential in double-layer potential region, and deceases to almost zero when the gold surface is adsorbed with oxygen. Surprisingly, we also noticed a correlation between creep and surface diffusivity, which links the deformation of nanocrystals to mobility of surface atoms. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.
; jin, hai-jun] chinese acad sci, inst met res, shenyang natl lab mat sci, shenyang 110016, peoples r china.
; jin, hj (reprint author), chinese acad sci, inst met res, shenyang natl lab mat sci, shenyang 110016, peoples r china.