Semiconductor-to-Insulator Transition in Inter-Electrode Bridge-like Ensembles of Anatase Nanoparticles under a Long-Term Action of the Direct Current

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2023 Apr 27;13(9):1490. doi: 10.3390/nano13091490.


The results of experimental studies of ohmic conductivity degradation in the ensembles of nanostructured anatase bridges under a long-term effect of direct current are presented. Stochastic sets of partially conducting inter-electrode bridges consisting of close-packed anatase nanoparticles were formed by means of the seeding particles from drying aqueous suspensions on the surfaces of silica substrates with interdigital platinum electrodes. Multiple-run experiments conducted at room temperature have shown that ohmic conductivity degradation in these systems is irreversible. It is presumably due to the accumulated capture of conduction electrons by deep traps in anatase nanoparticles. The scaling analysis of voltage drops across the samples at the final stage of degradation gives a critical exponent for ohmic conductivity as ≈1.597. This value satisfactorily agrees with the reported model data for percolation systems. At an early stage of degradation, the spectral density of conduction current fluctuations observed within the frequency range of 0.01-1 Hz decreases approximately as 1/ω, while near the percolation threshold, the decreasing trend changes to ≈1/ω2. This transition is interpreted in terms of the increasing contribution of blockages and subsequent avalanche-like breakdowns of part of the local conduction channels in the bridges into electron transport near the percolation threshold.

Keywords: anatase nanoparticles; conductivity; critical exponent; inter-electrode bridges; percolation threshold.