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The rich physics of nanowires

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Professor Mark Warner.

Metallic nanowires as narrow as a single atom and attached to metallic electrodes have been made since the 90s. The properties of these wires have been explored both experimentally and theoretically. Electronic transport is ballistic rather than diffusional and its description must allow for the quantum scattering of electron waves by structural features and vibrations. In this talk I shall describe how the mechanical stability of these wires affects their electronic properties and how electronic conduction influences their mechanical properties. I will also present a new theory of electromigration in ballistic contacts, based on an application of equilibrium thermodynamics to this non-equilibrium process in the steady-state. The macroscopic thermodynamic driving force for electromigration is identified and shown analytically to be identical to the microscopic description of the force in terms of a generalized Hellmann-Feynman theorem.

The talk will be primarily theoretical and computational but I will describe some key experiments and controversies in the field.

This talk is part of the Mott Colloquium series.

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