The Young's modulus of ZnO nanobelts was measured with an atomic force microscope by means of the modulated nanoindentation method. The elastic modulus was found to depend strongly on the width-to-thickness ratio of the nanobelt, decreasing from about 100 to 10 GPa, as the width-to-thickness ratio increases from 1.2 to 10.3. This surprising behavior is explained by a growth-direction-dependent aspect ratio and the presence of stacking faults in nanobelts growing along particular directions.
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