The present research focuses on the coupling of mechanical and electrical properties of materials and culminates in a direct connection between applied strain to thin-films, thin-film electron binding energy, the energy loss via plastic deformation provided by an indentation, and the substrate resistance. The methods used in this research include X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), nanoindentation, digital optical microscopy, and sputter coat deposition.
It is discovered that there is a shift in electron binding energy on the scale of 0.2 eV to 1.4 eV in gold and palladium thin-films sputtered on polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) through the application of strain induced by a convex shape. There is a change in the area beneath the load-displacement curve measured via indentation from 5.55 x 10^-10 J to 4.78 x 10^-10 J when the gold-palladium thin-film sputtered on PVDF is changed from the flat arrangement to the convex arrangement. Furthermore, the strain also changed the electrical resistance of aluminum foil, which indicates that the substrate electrical resistance is affected by the induced strain. The internal resistance of a circuit developed for this research changed from 7.76 ohms for flat samples to 8.03 ohms and 8.33 ohms for flat and convex samples, respectively. It is expected that the research can be used to estimate the strain in nanogears and other devices at small length scales.