Connective neck evolution and conductance steps in hot point contacts

A. Halbritter, Sz Csonka, O. Yu Kolesnychenko, G. Mihály, O. I. Shklyarevskii, O. I. Shklyarevskii, H. van Kempen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic evolution of the connective neck in Al and Pb mechanically controllable break junctions was studied during continuous approach of electrodes at bias voltages Vb up to a few hundred millivolt. A high level of power dissipation (10-4 - 10-3 W) and high current density (j ≳1010 A/cm2) in the constriction lead to overheating of the contact area, electromigration, and current-enhanced diffusion of atoms out of the "hot spot." At a low electrode approach rate (∼10-50 pm/s) the transverse dimension of the neck and the conductance of the junction depend on Vb and remain nearly constant over the approach distance of 10-30 nm. For Vb>300mV the connective neck consists of a few atoms only and the quantum nature of conductance manifests itself in abrupt steps and reversible jumps between two or more levels. These features are related to an ever changing number of individual conductance channels due to the continuous rearrangement in atomic configuration of the neck, the recurring motion of atoms between metastable states, the formation and breaking of isolated one-atom contacts, and the switching between energetically preferable neck geometries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045413
Pages (from-to)454131-454138
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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