Confinement of Electrons to Quantum Corrals on a Metal Surface

Science  08 Oct 1993:
Vol. 262, Issue 5131, pp. 218-220
DOI: 10.1126/science.262.5131.218


A method for confining electrons to artificial structures at the nanometer lengthscale is presented. Surface state electrons on a copper(111) surface were confined to closed structures (corrals) defined by barriers built from iron adatoms. The barriers were assembled by individually positioning iron adatoms with the tip of a 4-kelvin scanning tunneling microscope (STM). A circular corral of radius 71.3 Å was constructed in this way out of 48 iron adatoms. Tunneling spectroscopy performed inside of the corral revealed a series of discrete resonances, providing evidence for size quantization. STM images show that the corral's interior local density of states is dominated by the eigenstate density expected for an electron trapped in a round two-dimensional box.

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