Journal Article Atomic Configuration and Conductance of Tantalum Single-Atom Contacts and Single-Atom Wires

Kizuka, Tokushi  ,  Murata, Satoshi

86 ( 9 )  , p.094601 , 2017-09 , The Physical Society of Japan
The tensile deformation and successive fracture process of tantalum (Ta) nanocontacts (NCs) while applying various bias voltages was observed in situ by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy using a picometer-precision dual-goniometer nanotip manipulation technique. Simultaneously, the variation in the conductance of the contacts was measured. The NCs were thinned atom by atom during mechanical elongation, resulting in the formation of two types of single-atom cross-sectional contacts: single-atom contacts (SACs) and single-atom wires (SAWs), in which two electrodes, typically nanotips, are connected by a single shared atom or a one-line array of single atoms, respectively. When the bias voltage was 11 mV, Ta SACs were formed during tensile deformation; however, elongation of the single-atom cross-sectional part did not occur. In contrast, when the bias voltage was increased to 200 mV, Ta SACs were first formed during the tensile deformation, followed by elongation of the single-atom cross section up to a length of three atoms, i.e., the formation of SAWs. Thus, the present observation shows that Ta SAWs are stable even at such a high bias voltage. The conductance of the SACs was approximately 0.10G0 (G0 = 2e2/h, where e is the electron charge and h is Planck’s constant), whereas the conductance of the three-atom-long SAWs ranged from 0.01G0 to 0.22G0. Lower conductances were observed for linear SAWs, whereas higher conductances resulted from kinked SAWs.

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