Force Microscopy with Light-Atom Probes

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Science  16 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5682, pp. 380-383
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099730

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The charge distribution in atoms with closed electron shells is spherically symmetric, whereas atoms with partially filled shells can form covalent bonds with pointed lobes of increased charge density. Covalent bonding in the bulk can also affect surface atoms, leading to four tiny humps spaced by less than 100 picometers in the charge density of adatoms on a (001) tungsten surface. We imaged these charge distributions by means of atomic force microscopy with the use of a light-atom probe (a graphite atom), which directly measured high-order force derivatives of its interaction with a tungsten tip. This process revealed features with a lateral distance of only 77 picometers.

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