On the stability and structural dynamics of metal nanowires

J. Bürki, C. A. Stafford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This article presents a brief review of the nanoscale free-electron model, which provides a continuum description of metal nanostructures. It is argued that surface and quantum-size effects are the two dominant factors in the energetics of metal nanowires, and that much of the phenomenology of nanowire stability and structural dynamics can be understood based on the interplay of these two competing factors. A linear stability analysis reveals that metal nanocylinders with certain magic conductance values G=1,3,6,12,17,23,34,42,51, 67,78,96,... times the conductance quantum are exceptionally stable. A nonlinear dynamical simulation of nanowire structural evolution reveals a universal equilibrium shape consisting of a magic cylinder suspended between unduloidal contacts. The lifetimes of these metastable structures are also computed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1525
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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