Clean electromigrated nanogaps imaged by transmission electron microscopy

Douglas R. Strachan, Deirdre E. Smith, Michael D. Fischbein, Danvers E. Johnston, Beth S. Guiton, Marija Drndić, Dawn A. Bonnell, Alan T. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Electromigrated nanogaps have shown great promise for use in molecular scale electronics. We have fabricated nanogaps on free-standing transparent SiN x membranes which permit the use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to image the gaps. The electrodes are formed by extending a recently developed controlled electromigration procedure and yield a nanogap with approximately 5 nm separation clear of any apparent debris. The gaps are stable, on the order of hours as measured by TEM, but over time (months) relax to about 20 nm separation determined by the surface energy of the Au electrodes. A major benefit of electromigrated nanogaps on SiN x membranes is that the junction pinches in away from residual metal left from the Au deposition which could act as a parasitic conductance path. This work has implications to the design of clean metallic electrodes for use in nanoscale devices where the precise geometry of the electrode is important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-444
Number of pages4
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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