Resistance Fluctuations And Instability In Metal Nanowires
The principal aim of this thesis is to study the electrical transport properties of metal nanowires. Specifically, we have focussed on investigating the resistance fluctuations of Ag and Cu nanowires of diameters ranging from 15nm to 200nm and studied the instabilities that set in when the diameter is reduced below a certain range. The nanowires were grown electrochemically inside polycarbonate and alumina templates. X-ray diffraction studies on the samples showed the presence of a HCP 4H phase in the Ag nanowires in addition to the usual FCC phase, which is seen in bulk Ag. The relative ratios of these two phases were a maximum for nanowires of diameter 30nm. The X-ray diffraction studies also showed that the samples were of high chemical purity. TEM studies revealed that the wires are single crystalline in nature. Once the wires are released from the template, the wires of diameter 15nm were seen to break down spontaneously into globules due to Rayleigh instability. Wires of larger diameter tended to neck down to smaller radius but did not break down completely into globules. Both the Ag and Cu nanowire arrays had a fairly linear temperature dependence of resistance down to about 100K and reached a residual resistance below 40-50K. The temperature dependence of resistance could be fitted to a Bloch-Grüneisen formula over the entire temperature range. We found that n = 5 gave the best fit for the wires of all diameters showing that the dominant contribution to the temperature dependence of the resistivity in theses nanowires come from electron-acoustic phonon interactions. The resistivities of the wires were seen to increase as the wire diameter was decreased. This increase in the resistivity of the wires could be attributed to surface scattering of conduction electrons. In nanowires of diameter 15nm of both Ag and Cu, the relative variance of resistance fluctuations <(ΔR)2>/R2 showed a prominent peak at around ~ 220K for the Ag nanowire and ~ 260K for the Cu wire. Ag wires of diameter 20nm showed a much-reduced peak in noise at a somewhat higher temperature while this feature was completely absent in wires of larger diameter as also for the reference Ag film. The noise in wires of diameter larger than 20nm was similar to that of the reference film. For wires of diameter 15nm as we approach T*, the power spectral density showed a severe deviation from 1/f nature. We could establish that the extra fluctuation seen in the nanowires of the narrowest diameters could originate from the Rayleigh instability. The measured resistance fluctuation was found to have a magnitude similar to that estimated from a simple model of a wire showing volume preserving fluctuation. In the temperature range T ≤ 100K we observed very large non-Gaussian resistance fluctuations in a narrow temperature range for Ag and Cu wires of diameter 30nm with the fluctuations becoming much smaller as the diameter of the wires deviated from 30nm. In wires of diameter larger than 50nm the noise was almost independent of temperature in this range. The power spectrum of the resistance fluctuations also developed a large additional low frequency component near TP. We could establish that the appearance of this noise at a certain temperature (~30 – 50K) is due to the onset of martensite strain accommodation in these nanowires. To summarize, we measured the resistance and resistance fluctuations of Ag and Cu nanowires of diameters ranging from 15nm to 200nm in the temperature range 4.2-300K. The temperature dependence of resistance could be fitted to a Bloch-Grüneisen formula over the entire temperature range of measurement (4.2K-300K). The contribution of electron-phonon scattering to the resistivity was found to be similar to that of bulk. The defect free nature of our samples allowed us to identify two novel sources of noise in these nanowires. At high temperatures Rayleigh instability causes the noise levels in wires of diameter around 15nm to increase. At lower temperatures the formation of martensite state leads to an increase in noise in wires of small diameters.
- Physics (PHY) 
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