3 years ago

Copper atomic contacts exposed to water molecules.

Firuz Demir, Kevin Dean

Monatomic and molecular hydrogen and also oxygen, as well as water molecules and OH that are exposed to atomic copper in intimate contact have been studied theoretically using computational methods. The authors optimized moderately large structures of Cu/H/Cu, Cu/HCuH/Cu, Cu/H$_2$/Cu, Cu/H$_2$O/Cu, Cu/OH/Cu, Cu/O/Cu, Cu/O$_2$/Cu, and calculated appropriate values for conductance and inelastic tunneling spectroscopy (IETS) properties of the contact junctions; elucidating them as being a possible outcome resulting from the exposure of copper electrodes to the atomic/molecular contaminant species. Here we also demonstrate the IETS properties, by means of ab-initio calculations, that can determine the form of the junction geometries. Furthermore, we identify the bonding geometries at the interfaces of the copper electrodes that directly give rise to the specific IETS signatures that have been observed in recent experiments. Based on low-bias conductance and IETS calculations, for the specific case of water exposure of copper electrodes, it was concluded that a single hydrogen or a single oxygen atom bridging the copper electrodes is not responsible for the high conductance peak measurements. Regarding Model 4, where an individual water molecule is considered to be the bridging constituent, our computational results suggest that it has a relatively low probability of being an appropriate candidate. Based upon current computational results, the two hydrogens in Model 3 appear to be in molecular form, although they still form a bond with the adjacent copper atoms. Comparing computational with experimental results indicates that Model 3 is in acceptable agreement with available data.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1901.02606

DOI: arXiv:1901.02606v1

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