Atomic Wires

Authored by: Nicolás Agraït

Handbook of Nanophysics

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420075427
eBook ISBN: 9781420075434
Adobe ISBN:


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An atomic wire consisting of metal atoms forming a single file is certainly the thinnest wire that you could imagine. Atomic wires are classical textbook examples often used to illustrate many fundamental topics in condensed matter physics. The experimental realization of atomic wires has been possible recently (Ohnishi et al. 1998, Yanson et al. 1998). The electronic and mechanical properties of these exceptional systems are quite different to those of their macroscopic counterparts, directly reflecting the quantum nature of the atoms. For example, they can carry enormous current densities of up to 8 × 1014 A/m2, and they are much stronger than bulk. These systems are very attractive because they are ideally suited for investigating in atomic detail the theories of electronic transport in the nanoscale and the mechanical behavior of matter with atomic detail. These topics are of fundamental interest in nanotechnology and have implications for the miniaturization of electronic components.

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