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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


AVILA BERNAL, Alba Graciela  and  BONILLA OSORIO, Ruy Sebastián. A study of surfaces using a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Ing. Investig. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.3, pp.121-127. ISSN 0120-5609.

Sweeping/scanning microscopes have become an experimental scientist's hands and eyes in this century; they have become a powerful and necessary tool for nanoscale characterisation in education and research laboratories all around the world. This article presents the modifications made in the mechanical (isolation or designing an antivibration system) and electrical (piezoelectric and scanning system characterisation) implementation of a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM), thereby allowing nanoscale surfaces to be visualised and modified. A methodology for visualising and characterising surfaces using the aforementioned instrument is described, bidimensional quantification of up to 1,300 nm2, with ~15 nm resolution being reached. This experimental methodology took critical parameters for tunnelling current stability into account, such as scanning speed and microscope tip geometry and dimensions. This microscope's versatility allowed defects in highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) samples to be modified and visualised by applying a voltage between the tip and the sample. The concepts of topography scanning and lithography can be easily understood by using the instrument implemented here.

Keywords : STM; tunnel effect; piezoelectric; PI control; bias; hysteresis; drift.

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