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TU Dresden » Faculty of Mechanical Science and Engineering » Institute for Materials Science » Chair of Materials Science and Nanotechnology

Monday, 03 November 2003
(at 16:15 in room H34)
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Magic wires and the physics of conduction on the atomic scale

Jan van Ruitenbeek

Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory (Leiden Institute of Physics)
Universiteit Leiden
  The Netherlands  

By gently pulling a metallic contact apart a conducting nanowire can be formed. During the last stages of the pulling a neck-shaped wire connects the two electrodes, which is reduced to a single atom upon further stretching.
The complexity of the atomic structure of contacts is removed if the weakest point is reduced to just a single atom. The properties of the contact are then dominantly determined by the nature of this atom. Atomic contacts have thus proven to form a rich test-bed for concepts from mesoscopic physics. Properties investigated include multiple Andreev reflection, shot noise, conductance quantization, and conductance fluctuations. In addition, pronounced quantum effects show up in the mechanical properties of the contacts, as seen in the force and cohesion energy of the nanowires. More recently, similar techniques are being used to contact and study individual organic molecules.

phys. dept. links: abstract (pdf file)

Invited by C. Strunk (Kolloquium)

last modified: 2021.05.05 Wed
author: webadmin