Off-Resonance Conduction Through Atomic Wires

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Science  28 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5270, pp. 1921-1924
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5270.1921


The electrical resistance of wires consisting of either a single xenon atom or two xenon atoms in series was measured and calculated on the basis of an atom-jellium model. Both the measurement and the calculation yielded a resistance of 105 ohms for the single-xenon atom system and 107 ohms for the two-xenon atom system. These resistances greatly exceeded the 12,900-ohm resistance of an ideal one-dimensional conduction channel because conduction through the xenon atoms occurs through the tail of the xenon 6s resonance, which lies far above the Fermi level. This conduction process in an atom-sized system can now be understood in terms of the electronic states of individual atoms.