Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

Structural & Morphology Characterization (Scanning probe microscopy)

Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) allows imaging conductive surfaces at the atomic scale. It is possible to characterize the distribution of surface terraces and steps, as well as to determine the atomic arrangement of (ordered) surface (over)structures.

In STM, an atomically sharp tip is scanned on a surface at a few-angstrom distance, while a bias voltage is applied between these two electrodes, so that a current flows due to the quantum tunneling effect. The intensity of the tunneling current depends exponentially on the tip-surface distance and can therefore be used to reconstruct a morphologic image.

STM is a local technique: while high-resolution can be achieved on small (nanometer sized) areas, information on large-scale (micron sized or more) is lost, and measurements have to be repeated systematically on several regions of the sample to get statistically relevant information.

Due to stability performances, STM experiments are typically time-consuming. The technique is applicable both in air and in vacuum. Ultra-high-vacuum (UHV) is required for the characterization of delicate, atomically clean systems.

The STM signal is not purely topographic, but brings also information on the local density of electronic states. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) is an extension of STM that provides information about the density of electrons in a sample as a function of their energy. Inelastic tunneling spectroscopy (IETS) is a challenging extension for the investigation of vibrational states at liquid helium temperature. The STM tip can also be used to manipulate single atoms and molecules.

By acquiring sequences of consecutive images, STM can also be used to investigate at the atomic scale dynamical processes occurring on the surface of conductive samples, with a typical acquisition time of few tens of seconds per image. To further extend the range of accessible details in this kind of measurements, NFFA-Europe makes for the first time available to external users the access to a FastSTM option for high-speed imaging with a VT-STM microscope at CNR-IOM.  Thanks to this option, it is now possible to image with atomic resolution dynamical processes as chemical reactions, diffusion and growth, with a frame rate up to 100 images per second on regions few-nanometer wide.

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          provided at NFFA-Europe laboratories by:
CNR-IOM (TS)
Italy
CNR-DSCTM
Italy
KIT
Germany
PSI
Switzerland
EURONANOLAB
France
CNR-IOM (TS)
Italy
LT-STM
Characterisation of structural and electronic modifications at the atomic scale
Time resolution: ≥ 30 s/image
Sample size: ø ≤ 8mm Sample preparation T range: 30K-1400K
UHV Gas inlet: ≤10-5 mbar T range: 2.5K-300K
LEED, QMS, knudsen cells, TPD
Electronic and vibrational local spectroscopy Single atom/molecule manipulation
CNR-IOM (TS)
Italy
VT-STM
Characterisation of structural and electronic modifications at the atomic scale
Time resolution: ≥ 30 s/image
Sample size: ≤ 9 x 7 mm2 x 1 mm or ø ≤ 7 mm x 1 mm Sample preparation T range: 100K-1300K
UHV Gas inlet: ≤ 10-6 mbar T range: 300K-850K
LEED, QMS, evaporators, high pressure cell for sample preparation under gas exposure up to 10 mbar
System optimised for high-resolution and in-operando experiments FastSTM option available for imaging up to 100 images/s
CNR-IOM (TS)
Italy
FastSTM
Imaging of chemical reactions, growth processes, diffusion and reconstructions at the atomic scale
Time resolution: up to 100 images/s on 5 nm x 5 nm sample regions
Sample size: ≤ 9 x 7 mm2 x 1 mm or ø ≤ 7 mm x 1 mm Sample preparation T range: 100K-1300K
UHV Gas inlet: ≤ 10-6 mbar T range: 300K-850K
LEED, QMS, evaporators, high pressure cell for sample preparation under gas exposure up to 10 mbar Instrument offered as option for the VT-STM
System optimised for high-resolution and in-operando experiments
DESY + PETRA III
Germany
Temperature UHV STM/AFM @ DESY NanoLab
Topographic imaging of surfaces
Omicron UHV STM/AFM instrument
High resolution quartz tuning fork AFM STM tunnelling spectroscopy AFM contact and tapping mode Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM) option
Sub-atomic resolution in x, y, z by piezo scanner
x-y translation: 10 mm x 10 mm
Sample size: 10 mm x 10 mm Variable temperature range: 50 K < T < 500 K (liquid N2 and option for He cooling)
10-10- 10-11 mbar base pressure
Access for optical microscope
Direct sample transfer under UHV from and to the UHV system
PSI
Switzerland
Surface Science Lab @ Laboratory for Micro- and Nanotechnology
STM
W-Tip
1pA-1μA, -10V to +10V
pA
0.01Å
4x motors, 0.5μm x 0.5μm
Anything conducting or semiconducting (pA)
UHV