Asymmetric melting was observed in electrically pulsed n-type (phosphorus) nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si) wires fabricated lithographically. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images taken from the pulsed wires showed that melting initiates from the ground terminal end of the wires instead of the center as initially expected. Asymmetry in the temperature profile is caused by heat exchanged between charge carriers and phonons when an electrical current is passed along a temperature gradient. This effect is known as Thomson effect, a thermoelectric heat transfer mechanism. One dimensional (1D) time dependent heat diffusion equation including Thomson heat term was solved to model the temperature profile on our structures. The modeling results show that Thomson effect introduces significant shifts in the temperature distribution. The effect of Thomson heat is modeled for various electrical pulse conditions and wires dimensions. Our results indicate that Thomson effect is significant in small scale electronic devices operating under high current densities.
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