We develop a generalized grand canonical potential for the ballistic nonequilibrium electron distribution in a metal nanowire with a finite applied bias voltage. Coulomb interactions are treated in the self-consistent Hartree approximation, in order to ensure gauge invariance. Using this formalism, we investigate the stability and cohesive properties of metallic nanocylinders at ultrahigh current densities. A linear stability analysis shows that metal nanowires with certain magic conductance values can support current densities up to 1011Acm2, which would vaporize a macroscopic piece of metal. This finding is consistent with experimental studies of gold nanowires. Interestingly, our analysis also reveals the existence of reentrant stability zones-geometries that are stable only under an applied bias.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Jun 15 2005|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics