Measuring the mechanical properties of two-dimensional materials is a formidable task. While regular electrical and optical probing techniques are suitable even for atomically thin materials, conventional mechanical tests cannot be directly applied. Therefore, new mechanical testing techniques need to be developed. Up to now, the most widespread approaches require micro-fabrication to create freely suspended membranes, rendering their implementation complex and costly. Here, we revisit a simple yet powerful technique to measure the mechanical properties of thin films. The buckling metrology method, that does not require the fabrication of freely suspended structures, is used to determine the Young’s modulus of several transition metal dichalcogenides (MoS2, MoSe2, WS2 and WSe2) with thicknesses ranging from 3 to 10 layers. We critically compare the obtained values for the Young’s modulus and their uncertainty, finding that this simple technique provides results, which are in good agreement with those reported using other highly sophisticated testing methods. By comparing the complexity and time required for the different methods reported in the literature, the buckling metrology method clearly excels, demonstrating its potential as a mechanical test tool for 2D materials.

Published in: "arXiv Material Science".