Evolution of local temperature in Au nanowires during feedback-controlled electromigration observed by atomic force microscopy

Journal: Applied Physics Letters

Published: 2017-05-19

DOI: 10.1063/1.4984024

Affiliations: 1

Authors: 2

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Research Highlight

Closing a gap in nano-knowledge

© kelah2001/E+/Getty

© kelah2001/E+/Getty

Real-time atomic force microscopy (AFM) could help researchers refine a key method for wiring nanoscale electronic circuits.

Reducing the size of computer components, such as transistors, to squeeze more of them on to a chip, is the standard way to boost computer power. The ultimate transistor would consist of a single molecule, but how could it be wired into a circuit?

One approach involves a gold nanowire. Subject the nanowire to stress by ramping up the voltage, and a tiny ‘nanogap’ forms. If the nanogap is the right size, the single molecule transistor can bridge it, making the transistor part of the circuit.

Using real-time AFM, researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have tracked the changing shape of the nanowire during nanogap formation. The study reveals that the nanogap forms gradually, as the electric current drives the diffusion of gold atoms along the nanowire. New insights from the AFM technique could assist precise nanogap formation, the researchers say.

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  1. Applied Physics Letters 110, 203105 (2017). doi: 10.1063/1.4984024
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Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), Japan 1