Role of heating and current-induced forces in the stability of atomic wires
Chen, Y. C.
Di Ventra, Massimiliano
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We investigate the role of local heating and forces on ions in the stability of current-carrying aluminum wires. For a given bias, we find that heating increases with wire length due to a redshift of the frequency spectrum. Nevertheless, the local temperature of the wire is relatively low for a wide range of biases provided good thermal contact exists between the wire and the bulk electrodes. On the contrary, current-induced forces increase substantially as a function of bias and reach bond-breaking values at about 1 V. These results suggest that local heating promotes low-bias instabilities if dissipation into the bulk electrodes is not efficient, while current-induced forces are mainly responsible for the wire breakup at large biases. We compare these results to experimental observations.