Electronic transport with surface scattering in metallic nanowires is studied theoretically based on an atomistic tight-binding approach. It is shown that the mean free path (MFP) strongly depends on the size of the wire and the scattering potential at the surface. In the weak scattering regime, the MFP grows with the wire diameter in an oscillatory manner. A perturbation theory is developed to explain this finite size effect. For narrow wires with small roughness, we show that the surface can be the dominant source of scattering and increases the resistivity well above the bulk value, which will adversely impact the future application of nanowire.
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We thank Bethanie Stadler for useful discussion. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. ECS-0621868 and by the University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.
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