Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials U.S. Department of Energy

Patterned Copper Nanowires with Novel Electrical Effects

Micrograph of copper nanowire

A micrograph of the sample layout and the copper nanowire (l = 2.04 um, w = 90 nm, t = 50 nm) between the contact pads.

Metallic nanowires have various applications such as sensors and high-density interconnects in field-effect transistors. Monitoring the influence of size and surface effects on material properties, such as electrical resistivity and failure properties, is important in designing new, reliable nanowires.

Copper nanowires were patterned with e-beam lithography and fabricated with a copper film deposited by e-beam evaporation. Electrical measurements show that surface and size have effects on the electrical properties. Smaller values for the temperature coefficient of resistance and higher failure current density were found for copper nanowires with decreasing wire width. The experimental finding of width-dependent failure current density also agrees with theoretical predictions of heat transfer of the nanowire and substrate system as calculated with the finite-element method. These results suggest that mass transport during electromigration may be dominated by surface diffusion.

CNM staff and collaborative users partnered for this project and used the CNM Omicron UHV Nanoprobe (four-probe scanning electron microscope) and noncontact atomic-force microscope.

Q. Huang, C.M. Lilley, M. Bode, R. Divan, “Surface and size effects on the electrical properties of Cu nanowires,” J. Appl. Phys., 104 (2), 023709/1-6 (2008). (online)

October 2008

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