Nano Scale Cluster Devices
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This study uses clusters formed in a UHV-compatible cluster apparatus, which was built and commissioned during this thesis. The design and operation of the cluster deposition system is described. This system is optimised for high clus- ter fluxes and for the production of cluster assembled nanoscale devices. One key feature of the system is a high degree of flexibility, including interchangeable sputtering and inert gas aggregation sources, and two kinds of mass spectrome- ter, which allow both characterisation of the cluster size distribution and deposi- tion of mass-selected clusters. Another key feature is that clusters are deposited onto electrically contacted lithographically defined devices mounted on an UHV- compatible cryostat cold finger, allowing deposition at room temperature as well as at cryogenic and at elevated temperatures. The electrically contacted nanoscale cluster devices were fabricated using a novel template technique. Hereby, clusters are placed between two electrodes separated only by ∼100 nm. The width of the cluster ensemble is in the order of a few cluster diameters, which means that the assembled clusters form a cluster wire bridging the electrode separation. During this thesis, the design and layout has been optimised to be able to measure electrical properties of the cluster devices and in particular to investigate the interaction between the cluster ensemble and the contact electrodes. In-situ electrical characterisation of cluster assembled nanoscale devices are performed in the temperature range 4.2 K to 375 K. The samples are provided with a backgate, which in principle allows modification of the conduction through the cluster ensemble by applying a gate voltage. However, no change in conduc- tion with changes in gate voltages was seen. The main focus of the electrical measurements is on the current voltage char- acteristics. It was noticed that the nanoscale bismuth (and antimony) cluster devices exhibited non-linear current voltage characteristics, which were in stark contrast to the linear current voltage characteristics measured for cluster films previously. Investigations into the causes of this non-linearity suggests that tun- nelling conduction occurs between the cluster ensemble (wire) and the contact electrodes. The non-linear current voltage characteristics were fitted using three models of tunnelling conduction and appear to be best fitted using a model in- volving fluctuation-assisted tunnelling through barriers of different heights. Further, measurements of the temperature dependent resistance are performed showing an increase of resistance with decreasing temperature for bismuth and antimony assembled cluster devices. The temperature dependence of bismuth as- sembled cluster wires can be explained by the decrease of the carrier concentration in bismuth for decreasing temperature. Annealing of the cluster ensemble and the cluster contact connection resulted in an increase in conduction. This increase of conduction can be explained due to the current flow through the cluster wire. Locally, at the bottlenecks, the current flow causes resistive heating and subsequently coalescence of two (or more) clusters.