Letter | Published:

Heat transport through atomic contacts

Nature Nanotechnology volume 12, pages 430433 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Heat transport and dissipation at the nanoscale severely limit the scaling of high-performance electronic devices and circuits1. Metallic atomic junctions serve as model systems to probe electrical and thermal transport down to the atomic level as well as quantum effects that occur in one-dimensional (1D) systems2. Whereas charge transport in atomic junctions has been studied intensively in the past two decades2,3,4,5, heat transport remains poorly characterized because it requires the combination of a high sensitivity to small heat fluxes and the formation of stable atomic contacts. Here we report heat-transfer measurements through atomic junctions and analyse the thermal conductance of single-atom gold contacts at room temperature. Simultaneous measurements of charge and heat transport reveal the proportionality of electrical and thermal conductance, quantized with the respective conductance quanta6. This constitutes a verification of the Wiedemann–Franz law at the atomic scale7.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Energy dissipation and transport in nanoscale devices. Nano Res. 3, 147–169 (2010).

  2. 2.

    , & Quantum properties of atomic-sized conductors. Phys. Rep. 377, 81–279 (2003).

  3. 3.

    , , , & Formation and manipulation of a metallic wire of single gold atoms. Nature 395, 783–785 (1998).

  4. 4.

    , , & Quantization effects in the conductance of metallic contacts at room temperature. Phys. Rev. B 53, 1022–1025 (1996).

  5. 5.

    , & Quantized conductance through individual rows of suspended gold atoms. Nature 395, 780–783 (1998).

  6. 6.

    , , & Measurement of the quantum of thermal conductance. Nature 404, 974–977 (2000).

  7. 7.

    & Ueber die Wärme-Leitungsfähigkeit der metalle. Ann. Phys. 165, 497–531 (1853).

  8. 8.

    et al. Heat dissipation in atomic-scale junctions. Nature 498, 209–212 (2013).

  9. 9.

    , & Unsymmetrical hot electron heating in quasi-ballistic nanocontacts. Sci. Rep. 2, 217 (2012).

  10. 10.

    et al. Quantum thermopower of metallic atomic-size contacts at room temperature. Nano Lett. 15, 1006–1011 (2015).

  11. 11.

    , , & Thermoelectricity in atom-sized junctions at room temperatures. Sci. Rep. 3, 3326 (2013).

  12. 12.

    Thermal and electrical transport formalism for electronic microstructures with many terminals. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 2, 4869–4878 (1990).

  13. 13.

    & Solid State Physics (Saunders College, 1976).

  14. 14.

    , , , & Influence of grain boundary scattering on the electrical and thermal conductivities of polycrystalline gold nanofilms. Phys. Rev. B 74, 134109 (2006).

  15. 15.

    , , , & Electrical and thermal transport in single nickel nanowire. Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 063101 (2008).

  16. 16.

    , , , & Temperature dependence of electrical and thermal conduction in single silver nanowire. Sci. Rep. 5, 10718 (2015).

  17. 17.

    , , , & The experimental investigation of thermal conductivity and the Wiedemann–Franz law for single metallic nanowires. Nanotechnology 20, 325706 (2009).

  18. 18.

    , , , & Thermal and electrical conductivity of approximately 100-nm permalloy, Ni, Co, Al, and Cu films and examination of the Wiedemann–Franz Law. Phys. Rev. B 92, 1–10 (2015).

  19. 19.

    et al. Gross violation of the Wiedemann–Franz law in a quasi-one-dimensional conductor. Nat. Commun. 2, 396 (2011).

  20. 20.

    et al. Atomically controlled quantum chains hosting a Tomonaga–Luttinger liquid. Nat. Phys. 7, 776–780 (2011).

  21. 21.

    et al. Quantum thermal conductance of electrons in a one-dimensional wire. Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 1314 (2006).

  22. 22.

    , , , & Peltier coefficient and thermal conductance of a quantum point contact. Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 3765–3768 (1992).

  23. 23.

    , & Next-generation nanotechnology laboratories with simultaneous reduction of all relevant disturbances. Nanoscale 5, 10542 (2013).

  24. 24.

    et al. Quantum contact in gold nanostructures by scanning tunneling microscopy. Phys. Rev. Lett. 71, 1852–1855 (1993).

  25. 25.

    et al. Radiative heat transfer in the extreme near field. Nature 528, 387–391 (2015).

  26. 26.

    et al. Near-field heat transfer in a scanning thermal microscope. Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 1–4 (2005).

  27. 27.

    et al. Electron transport through CO studied by gold break-junctions in nonpolar liquids. J. Phys. Chem. C 113, 15412–15416 (2009).

  28. 28.

    , & Alternative types of molecule-decorated atomic chains in Au–CO–Au single-molecule junctions. Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 6, 1369–1376 (2015).

  29. 29.

    , & The effect of bonding of a CO molecule on the conductance of atomic metal wires. Nanotechnology 18, 35205 (2007).

  30. 30.

    & Quantized thermal transport across contacts of rough surfaces. Nat. Mater. 12, 59–65 (2012).

Download references

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge funding by the European Commission FP7 ITN ‘MOLESCO’ Project No. 606728. We thank J. Repp, K. Moselund and W. Riess for management support of the project. We acknowledge technical support from M. Tschudy, H. Wolf, E. Lörtscher, S. Reidt, A. Olziersky, G. Meyer and C. Bolliger. We thank C. Lambert, H. Sadeghi, G. Signorello, F. Motzfeld, J. Gooth and all the MOLESCO partners for fruitful discussions concerning this work. This work is dedicated to the MOLESCO partner T. Wandlowski.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. IBM Research – Zurich, Säumerstrasse 4, 8803 Rüschlikon, Switzerland

    • Nico Mosso
    • , Ute Drechsler
    • , Fabian Menges
    • , Peter Nirmalraj
    • , Siegfried Karg
    • , Heike Riel
    •  & Bernd Gotsmann

Authors

  1. Search for Nico Mosso in:

  2. Search for Ute Drechsler in:

  3. Search for Fabian Menges in:

  4. Search for Peter Nirmalraj in:

  5. Search for Siegfried Karg in:

  6. Search for Heike Riel in:

  7. Search for Bernd Gotsmann in:

Contributions

B.G. and N.M. conceived the experiment. N.M. performed the measurements with the help of P.N., S.K., F.M. and B.G. The MEMS devices were fabricated by U.D. The experiment was designed by B.G., N.M. and F.M. N.M. and B.G. performed the data analysis and wrote the manuscript with contributions by all the authors. All the authors discussed the results.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Nico Mosso or Bernd Gotsmann.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary information

Excel files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2016.302

Further reading