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Colm Durkan's
Scanning probe microscopy and Nanoelectronics group

   Nanoscience centre   

Scanning probe microscopy and nanoelectronics Group

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Nanoscience Centre  
Nanowire research

We are interested in the electrical properties of metal wires with cross-sectional dimensions below 100 nm.  This is of interest due to the fact that at such lengthscales, we start to directly see the effects of the mean-free path of electrons.  The specific topics we are working on are:

  • Size dependence on resistivity : we have experimentally and theoretically investigated the dependence of size and microstructure on the electrical resistivity of gold nanowires, and found that surface scattering plays as important a role as grain size.  
  • Electromigration : we have determined the factors influencing electromigration-induced failure in metallic nanowires, relevant in the near-future as interconnects in microprocessors are already below the micron scale.
  • Nanogap formation : we have recently developed a technique for the reproducible formation of 1-2 nm nanogaps in gold and gold-palladium nanowires, which is a scaleable process which can be used for molecular electronics applications.
  • Modelling : we have developed a simple analytical model describing electromigration and Joule heating in current-stressed nanowire devices, as well as a model for the size dependence of resistivity in nanostructures.

  Nanowire SEM image

Colm Durkan, University of Cambridge Engineering Department and Nanoscience centre, , 11 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0FF, UK
Last updated April 2008.