Electronic Transport through Atomic-Size Point Contacts

Authored by: Elke Scheer

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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In this chapter, we will describe the electronic transport properties of a particular type of mesoscopic structure, namely, point contacts with lateral dimensions of a single or a few atoms. These structures, first realized in the early 1990s, are still attracting much interest because they represent test beds for important concepts of quantum mechanics, quantum chemistry, atomic physics, and solid-state physics. While the first years of research were devoted to the understanding of the intrinsic transport properties of atomic-size contacts (APCs) of normal metals, new fields of interest have now been entered, for example, the application of APCs to provide highly-spin polarized resistors or atomically sharp electrodes for contacting individual nano-objects in the context of molecular electronics.

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