Understanding Grain Boundary Electrical Resistivity in Cu: The Effect of Boundary Structure

Hanna Bishara*, Subin Lee, Tobias Brink, Matteo Ghidelli, Gerhard Dehm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grain boundaries (GBs) in metals usually increase electrical resistivity due to their distinct atomic arrangement compared to the grain interior. While the GB structure has a crucial influence on the electrical properties, its relationship with resistivity is poorly understood. Here, we perform a systematic study on the resistivity-structure relationship in Cu tilt GBs, employing high-resolution in situ electrical measurements coupled with atomic structure analysis of the GBs. Excess volume and energies of selected GBs are calculated using molecular dynamics simulations. We find a consistent relation between the coincidence site lattice (CSL) type of the GB and its resistivity. The most resistive GBs are in the high range of low-angle GBs (14°-18°) with twice the resistivity of high angle tilt GBs, due to the high dislocation density and corresponding strain fields. Regarding the atomistic structure, GB resistivity approximately correlates with the GB excess volume. Moreover, we show that GB curvature increases resistivity by ∼80%, while phase variations and defects within the same CSL type do not considerably change it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16607-16615
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number10
StatePublished - 26 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • copper
  • electrical resistivity
  • excess volume
  • grain boundaries
  • grain boundary structure


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