<p>Abstract</p><p>Metal nanowires and in particular gold nanowires have received a great deal of attention in the past few years. Experiments on gold nanowires have prompted theory and simulation to help answer questions posed by these studies. Here we present results of computer simulations for the formation, evolution and breaking of very thin Au nanowires. We also discuss the influence of contaminants, such as atoms and small molecules, and their effect on the structural and mechanical properties of these nanowires.</p
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