Quantum size phenomena in single-crystalline bismuth nanostructures
Size-dependent quantization of energy spectrum of conducting electrons in solids leads to oscillating dependence of electronic properties on corresponding dimension(s). In conventional metals with typical energy Fermi EF ~ 1 eV and the charge carrier's effective masses m* of the order of free electron mass m0, the quantum size phenomena provide noticeable impact only at nanometer scales. Here we experimentally demonstrate that in single-crystalline semimetal bismuth nanostructures the electronic conductivity non-monotonously decreases with reduction of the effective diameter. In samples grown along the particular crystallographic orientation the electronic conductivity abruptly increases at scales of about 50 nm due to metal-to-insulator transition mediated by the quantum confinement effect. The experimental findings are in reasonable agreement with theory predictions. The quantum-size phenomena should be taken into consideration to optimize operation of the next generation of ultra-small quantum nanoelectronic circuits.