In situ heating transmission electron microscopy observations clearly reveal remarkable interlayer expansion and inner-layer inward contraction in multi-walled boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) as the specimen temperature increases. We interpreted the observed inward contraction as being due to the presence of the strong constraints of the outer layers on radial expansion in the tubular structure upon in situ heating. The increase in specimen temperature upon heating can create pressure and stress toward the tubular center, which drive the lattice motion and yield inner diameter contraction for the multi-walled BNNTs. Using a simple model involving a wave-like pattern of layer-wise distortion, we discuss these peculiar structural alterations and the anisotropic thermal expansion properties of the tubular structures. Moreover, our in situ atomic images also reveal Russian-doll-type BN nanotubes, which show anisotropic thermal expansion behaviors.
Keywords: multi-walled BNNTs; anisotropic thermal expansion; transmission electron microscopy; in situ heating; thermal contraction
The authors show the thermal lattice change in the multi-walled boron nitride nanotubes during in situ heating at high-resolution.