Metallic, magnetic and molecular nanocontacts

Ryan Requist*, Pier Paolo Baruselli, Alexander Smogunov, Michele Fabrizio, Silvio Modesti, Erio Tosatti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Scanning tunnelling microscopy and break-junction experiments realize metallic and molecular nanocontacts that act as ideal one-dimensional channels between macroscopic electrodes. Emergent nanoscale phenomena typical of these systems encompass structural, mechanical, electronic, transport, and magnetic properties. This Review focuses on the theoretical explanation of some of these properties obtained with the help of first-principles methods. By tracing parallel theoretical and experimental developments from the discovery of nanowire formation and conductance quantization in gold nanowires to recent observations of emergent magnetism and Kondo correlations, we exemplify the main concepts and ingredients needed to bring together ab initio calculations and physical observations. It can be anticipated that diode, sensor, spin-valve and spin-filter functionalities relevant for spintronics and molecular electronics applications will benefit from the physical understanding thus obtained.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


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