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Positive sample bias effect in scanning tunneling microscope imaging of low coverage alkali metal atoms on Si(111)7×7 surface

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6 Author(s)
Eitle, J. ; Department of Chemical Physics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel ; Gorelik, D. ; Aloni, S. ; Margalit, T.
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Already at coverages as low as 0.005 monolayer of potassium on room temperature Si(111)7×7 surfaces, atomic resolution is gradually lost when imaging the surface with scanning tunneling microscope at positive sample bias, giving rise to bright triangles over the faulted halves of the 7×7 unit cells and dark triangles above the unfaulted halves. We suggest that this is due to potassium atoms that are picked up by the tip from K islands at the surface, as is evident by the observed lowering of the tunneling energy barrier. This phenomenon vanishes upon thermal desorption of K islands or upon exposure to 0.1 L oxygen. © 1998 American Vacuum Society.

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Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 5 )