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We have developed a fast, yet highly reproducible method to fabricate metallic electrodes with nanometer separation using electromigration (EM). We employ four-terminal instead of two-terminal devices in combination with an analog feedback to maintain the voltage $U$ over the junction constant. After the initialization phase ($U < 0.2V), during which the temperature $T$ increases by 80-150 degs C, EM sets in shrinking the wire locally. This quickly leads to a transition from the diffusive to a quasi-ballistic regime ($0.2V < U < 0.6V). At the end of this second regime, a gap forms (U > 0.6V). Remarkably, controlled electromigration is still possible in the quasi-ballistic regime.
As the dimensions of a conductor approach the nano-scale, quantum effects will begin to dominate its behavior. This entails the exciting possibility of controlling the conductance of a device by direct manipulation of the electron wave function. Such control has been most clearly demonstrated in mesoscopic semiconductor structures at low temperatures. Indeed, the Aharanov-Bohm effect, conductance quantization and universal conductance fluctuations are direct manifestations of the electron wave nature. However, an extension of this concept to more practical emperatures has not been achieved so far. As molecules are nano-scale objects with typical energy level spacings (~eV) much larger than the thermal energy at 300 K (~25 meV), they are natural candidates to enable such a break-through. Fascinating phenomena including giant magnetore...
The charge transport properties of single superconducting tin nanowires, encapsulated by multiwalled carbon nanotubes have been investigated by multi-probe measurements. The multiwalled carbon nanotube protects the tin nanowire from oxidation and shape fragmentation and therefore allows us to investigate the electronic properties of stable wires with diameters as small as 25 nm. The transparency of the contact between the Ti/Au electrode and nanowire can be tuned by argonion etching the multiwalled nanotube. Application of a large electrical current results in local heating at the contact which in turn suppresses superconductivity.
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