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Joule heating of CdTe nanowires and ZnTe nanowires was studied using in situ TEM probing. Thermal decomposition of the nanowires was investigated using TEM imaging, conductivity measurements, and electron diffraction. The results showed that nanowires decompose via joule heating in four sequential steps: an increase in temperature, element ball formation, growth of the balls, and ball evaporation. This mechanism is known as "Ostwald ripening". Besides the changes in morphological properties anddoi:10.1017/s1431927611010245 fatcat:ckte6e5gejgfvcfjm7io7nonma