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Nanometer Gaps in Gold Wires Are Formed By Thermal Migration



Ganesh K. Ramachandran, Monica D. Edelstein, David L. Blackburn, John S. Suehle, Eric M. Vogel, Curt A. Richter


The formation of gold wires separated by a few nanometers is reported. Such nanometer separated gaps are formed by ramping, at ambient conditions, a bias voltage across a thin gold wire until the wire breaks or fails. Externally heating the wire does not result in lowering of the mean bias or current conditions required for creating the break, although electromigration-based models predict rapid decreases in the current required to cause the break. Based on measurements of changes in resistance during the voltage ramp we determine that the temperature reached in the wires is very large and can approach the melting point of gold. To avoid deleterious effects of such large temperatures on molecules, we recommend here an alternate procedure for utilizing the break-protocol in molecular electronics.


electromigration, metal junctions, molecular electronics, nanometer, single molecule


Ramachandran, G. , Edelstein, M. , Blackburn, D. , Suehle, J. , Vogel, E. and Richter, C. (2005), Nanometer Gaps in Gold Wires Are Formed By Thermal Migration, Nanotechnology (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created June 6, 2005, Updated October 12, 2021