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The effect of surface energy on the yield strength of nanoporous materials is investigated in this letter. The conventional micromechanics method is extended to consider the surface effect and an analytical expression of the yield surface of nanoporous materials in a complex stress state is derived. It is seen that surface energy has obvious effect on the overall yield strength of nanoporous materials, and the smaller the nanosized void, the more significant the effect of surface energy. The yield strength of nanoporous materials is size dependent.