The conductance of a single-atom contact is sensitive to the coupling of this contact atom to the atoms in the leads. Notably for the transition metals this gives rise to a considerable spread in the observed conductance values. The mean conductance value and spread can be obtained from the first peak in conductance histograms recorded from a large set of contact-breaking cycles. In contrast to the monovalent metals, this mean value for Pt depends strongly on the applied voltage bias and other experimental conditions and values ranging from about 1 G(0) to 2.5 G(0) (G(0)=2e(2)/h) have been reported. We find that at low bias the first peak in the conductance histogram is centered around 1.5 G(0). However, as the bias increases past 300 mV the peak shifts to 1.8 G(0). Here we show that this bias dependence is due to a geometric effect where monatomic chains are replaced by single-atom contacts, where the former are destabilized by the electron current at high bias.
Bibliographical noteCopyright (2003) American Physical Society
- GOLD ATOMS
- QUANTIZED CONDUCTANCE
- POINT CONTACTS