Reversible Rotation of Antimony Dimers on the Silicon (001) Surface with a Scanning Tunneling Microscope

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Science  13 Aug 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5123, pp. 886-888
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5123.886


The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) was used to control the configuration of antimony clusters on the (001) surface of silicon. In particular, the STM tip induced a reversible rotation between two orthogonal orientations of individual antimony dimers on the surface. This simple rotation can be explained by an atomic-scale torque exerted on the antimony dimers by the STM tip. The reversibility of this process could provide a basis for making atomic-scale memory cells.