Using spin density functional theory, we study the electronic and magnetic properties of atomically thin, suspended chains containing silver and oxygen atoms in an alternating sequence. Chains longer than 4 atoms develop a half-metallic ground state implying fully spin-polarized charge carriers. The conductances of the chains exhibit weak even-odd oscillations around an anomalously low value of 0.1G(0) (G(0) = 2e(2)/h) which coincide with the averaged experimental conductance in the long chain limit. The unusual conductance properties are explained in terms of a resonating-chain model, which takes the reflection probability and phase shift of a single bulk-chain interface as the only input. The model also explains the conductance oscillations for other metallic chains.
Bibliographical noteCopyright 2008 American Physical Society