Non-ohmic transport behavior in ultra-thin gold films

A. Alkhatib*, T. Souier, M. Chiesa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Structure and local lateral electrical properties of Au films of thicknesses ranging from 10 to 140 nm are studied using conductive atomic force microscopy. Comparison of current maps taken at different thicknesses reveals surprising highly resistive regions (1010-1011 Ω), the density of which increases strongly at lower thickness. The high resistivity is shown to be directly related to discontinuities in the metal sheet. Local I-V curves are acquired to show the nature of electrical behavior relative to thickness. Results show that in Au films of higher thickness the electrical behavior is ohmic, while it is non-ohmic in highly discontinuous films of lower thickness, with the transition happening between 34 and 39 nm. The non-ohmic behavior is explained with tunneling occurring between separated Au islands. The results explain the abrupt increase of electrical resistivity at lower thin film thicknesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-845
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering: B
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 25 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Conductive AFM
  • Direct tunneling
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Electrical transport
  • Field emission
  • Ultra-thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-ohmic transport behavior in ultra-thin gold films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this