As microelectronics are miniaturized, the applicablilty of classic continuum mechanics which takes into account only the bulk phenomena are in question. A more accurate theory shall account for surface/interface energy. The continuum theory including surface/interface energy has been established by Gurtin and Murdoch in 1970s-1980s. The question we are now faced with is to establish a seamless pathway from an atomistic model to the Gurti-Murdoch's theory and give an answer to questions such as: How to calculate the macroscopic surface elasticity properties from the underlying atomistic model? Are there some intrinsic realtions between bulk elastic properties and surface elastic properties? Does the stability of free surface place some restrictions on the possible interactions between atoms? Are there simple experimental techniques to measure surface elastic properties?
There project is currently investigated by Ph.D. student Mr. Lixin Hu.