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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Jun 13;90(23):236601. Epub 2003 Jun 13.

Electrical-thermal switching in carbon-black-polymer composites as a local effect.

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The Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


Following the lack of microscopic information about the intriguing well-known electrical-thermal switching mechanism in carbon-black-polymer composites, we applied atomic force microscopy in order to reveal the local nature of the process and correlated it with the characteristics of the widely used commercial switches. We conclude that the switching events take place in critical interparticle tunneling junctions that carry most of the current. The macroscopic switched state is then a result of a dynamic-stationary state of fast switching and slow reconnection of the corresponding junctions.

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