Scanning Single-Electron Transistor Microscopy: Imaging Individual Charges

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Science  25 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5312, pp. 579-582
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5312.579

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A single-electron transistor scanning electrometer (SETSE)—a scanned probe microscope capable of mapping static electric fields and charges with 100-nanometer spatial resolution and a charge sensitivity of a small fraction of an electron—has been developed. The active sensing element of the SETSE, a single-electron transistor fabricated at the end of a sharp glass tip, is scanned in close proximity across the sample surface. Images of the surface electric fields of a GaAs/AlxGa1− xAs heterostructure sample show individual photo-ionized charge sites and fluctuations in the dopant and surface-charge distribution on a length scale of 100 nanometers. The SETSE has been used to image and measure depleted regions, local capacitance, band bending, and contact potentials at submicrometer length scales on the surface of this semiconductor sample.

  • * Present address: Philips Laboratories, 345 Scarborough Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510, USA.

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