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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 437082, 6 pages
Research Article

Nonlinear Electrical Conductivity Properties of Au Films Prepared by Sputtering

1State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
2Key Laboratory of Theoretical and Computational Photochemistry, Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Received 10 March 2014; Accepted 7 July 2014; Published 13 August 2014

Academic Editor: Ugur Serincan

Copyright © 2014 Qingyun Meng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metal-based films with tunable electrical conductivity have played an important role in developing new types of electric devices for future application. In this work, a sputtering method was used to obtain Au films on silicon substrate in a hypobaric atmosphere. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) shows that the interspaces between the Au nanoparticles were highly uniform and orderly distributed, with the width of several nanometers at the surface. By measuring the I-V curves of the films with thickness less than 20 nm, the nonlinear behaviors of electrical resistivity became gradually obvious as the decrease of the film thickness. For example, upon the thickness reducing to 10 nm, remarkable discontinuous step phenomenon appeared. Moreover, a computational simulation was carried on the electrical conductivity of films under normal temperature based on the Coulomb blockade theory and scattering theory, in which the electric current was in the range from 0 to 1.5 × 10−5 A. The computational results were consistent well with the experimental observations, which confirm that the nonlinear and step phenomenon can be assigned to the Coulomb blockade effect when electrons transfer occurs in the interspaces between the nanoparticles.