Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Nano Lett. 2012


Nano Lett. Author manuscript doi:10.1021/nl300686c.


About a 100 nm thick multilayer film of nanoparticle monolayers and polymer layers is shown to behave like cellular-foam with a modulus below 100 KPa. The 1.25 cm radius film adhered to a rigid surface can be compressed reversibly to 60% strain. The more than four orders of magnitude lower modulus compared to its constituents is explained by considering local bending in the (nano)cellular structure, similar to cork and wings of beetles. As the rigidity of the polymer backbone is increased in just four monolayers the modulus of the composite increases by over 70%. Electro-optical map of the strain distribution over the area of compression and increase in modulus with thickness indicates the films have zero Poisson’s ratio.