We present and discuss an algorithm to identify and characterize the long icosahedral structures (staggered pentagonal nanowires with 1-5-1-5 atomic structure) that appear in Molecular Dynamics simulations of metallic nanowires of different species subjected to stretching. The use of this algorithm allows the identification of pentagonal rings forming the icosahedral structure as well as the determination of its number np , and the maximum length of the pentagonal nanowire Lpm. The algorithm is tested with some ideal structures to show its ability to discriminate between pentagonal rings and other ring structures. We applied the algorithm to Ni nanowires with temperatures ranging between 4K and 865K, stretched along the ,  and  directions. We studied statistically the formation of pentagonal nanowires obtaining the distributions of length Lpm and number of rings np as function of the temperature. The Lpm distribution presents a peaked shape, with peaks located at fixed distances whose separation corresponds to the distance between two consecutive pentagonal rings.
Keywords: Molecular dynamics, metallic nanocontacts, icosahedral nanowires, embedded atom method, metallic nanowires, pentagonal nanowires
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