Research Articles

Manipulation of Adsorbed Atoms and Creation of New Structures on Room-Temperature Surfaces with a Scanning Tunneling Microscope

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Science  08 Mar 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4998, pp. 1206-1210
DOI: 10.1126/science.251.4998.1206


A general method of manipulating adsorbed atoms and molecules on room-temperature surfaces with the use of a scanning tunneling microscope is described. By applying an appropriate voltage pulse between the sample and probe tip, adsorbed atoms can be induced to diffuse into the region beneath the tip. The field-induced diffusion occurs preferentially toward the tip during the voltage pulse because of the local potential energy gradient arising from the interaction of the adsorbate dipole moment with the electric field gradient at the surface. Depending upon the surface and pulse parameters, cesium (Cs) structures from one nanometer to a few tens of nanometers across have been created in this way on the (110) surfaces of gallium arsenide (GaAs) and indium antimonide (InSb), including structures that do not naturally occur.

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