Scanned Probe Imaging of Single-Electron Charge States in Nanotube Quantum Dots

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Science  10 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 1098-1101
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069923

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An atomic force microscope was used to study single-electron motion in nanotube quantum dots. By applying a voltage to the microscope tip, the number of electrons occupying the quantum dot could be changed, causing Coulomb oscillations in the nanotube conductance. Spatial maps of these oscillations were used to locate individual dots and to study the electrostatic coupling between the dot and the tip. The electrostatic forces associated with single electrons hopping on and off the quantum dot were also measured. These forces changed the amplitude, frequency, and quality factor of the cantilever oscillation, demonstrating how single-electron motion can interact with a mechanical oscillator.

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