Electrical and Mechanical Properties of Ultra-Small Au Contacts

        Electrical and mechanical properties of point contacts of atomic dimensions have been studied using
        a scanning tunneling microscope supplemented by a force sensor for measuring tip-sample forces. It is shown that
        the conductance and the atomic structure of the contact are intimately related. Measured stress-strain characteristics favor the interpretation that plastic deformation of Au contacts of atomic dimensions proceeds
        by nucleation of slip dislocations and subsequent shear. The yield strength observed is of the order of 6 GPa, which proves that nanometer-sized contacts are substantially more rigid than their macroscopic counterparts.

By: A. Stalder and U. Durig

Published in: RZ2644 in 1994


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