Van der Waals interaction affects wrinkle formation in two-dimensional materials

Pablo Ares, Yi Bo Wang, Colin R. Woods, James Dougherty, Laura Fumagalli, Francisco Guinea, Benny Davidovitch, Kostya S. Novoselov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonlinear mechanics of solids is an exciting field that encompasses both beautiful mathematics, such as the emergence of instabilities and the formation of complex patterns, as well as multiple applications. Two-dimensional crystals and van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures allow revisiting this field on the atomic level, allowing much finer control over the parameters and offering atomistic interpretation of experimental observations. In this work, we consider the formation of instabilities consisting of radially oriented wrinkles around mono- and few-layer “bubbles” in two-dimensional vdW heterostructures. Interestingly, the shape and wavelength of the wrinkles depend not only on the thickness of the two-dimensional crystal forming the bubble, but also on the atomistic structure of the interface between the bubble and the substrate, which can be controlled by their relative orientation. We argue that the periodic nature of these patterns emanates from an energetic balance between the resistance of the top membrane to bending, which favors large wavelength of wrinkles, and the membrane-substrate vdW attraction, which favors small wrinkle amplitude. Employing the classical “Winkler foundation” model of elasticity theory, we show that the number of radial wrinkles conveys a valuable relationship between the bending rigidity of the top membrane and the strength of the vdW interaction. Armed with this relationship, we use our data to demonstrate a nontrivial dependence of the bending rigidity on the number of layers in the top membrane, which shows two different regimes driven by slippage between the layers, and a high sensitivity of the vdW force to the alignment between the substrate and the membrane.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2025870118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Van der Waals interaction affects wrinkle formation in two-dimensional materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this