Stability and symmetry breaking in metal nanowires: The nanoscale free-electron model

D. F. Urban, J. Bürki, Charles A Stafford, Hermann Grabert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A general linear stability analysis of simple metal nanowires is presented using a continuum approach that correctly accounts for material-specific surface properties and electronic quantum-size effects. The competition between surface tension and electron-shell effects leads to a complex landscape of stable structures as a function of diameter, cross section, and temperature. By considering arbitrary symmetry-breaking deformations, it is shown that the cylinder is the only generically stable structure. Nevertheless, a plethora of structures with broken axial symmetry is found at low conductance values, including wires with quadrupolar, hexapolar, and octupolar cross sections. These nonintegrable shapes are compared to previous results on elliptical cross sections, and their material-dependent relative stability is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245414
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume74
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Fingerprint

free electrons
Nanowires
broken symmetry
nanowires
Metals
Quantum electronics
Linear stability analysis
Electrons
cross sections
metals
Surface properties
Surface tension
quantum electronics
Wire
surface properties
interfacial tension
wire
continuums
symmetry
Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Stability and symmetry breaking in metal nanowires : The nanoscale free-electron model. / Urban, D. F.; Bürki, J.; Stafford, Charles A; Grabert, Hermann.

In: Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Vol. 74, No. 24, 245414, 2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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