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We present a new ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) chamber for surface analysis and microscopy at controlled, variable temperatures. The new instrument allows surface analysis with Auger electron spectroscopy, low energy electron diffraction, quadrupole mass spectrometer, argon ion sputtering gun, and a variable temperature scanning tunneling microscope (VT-STM). In this system, we introduce a novel procedure for transferring a sample off a conventional UHV manipulator and onto a scanning tunneling microscope in the conventional “beetle” geometry, without disconnecting the heating or thermocouple wires. The microscope, a modified version of the Besocke beetle microscope, is mounted on a 2.75 in. outer diameter UHV flange and is directly attached to the base of the chamber. The sample is attached to a tripod sample holder that is held by the main manipulator. Under UHV conditions the tripod sample holder can be removed from the main manipulator and placed onto the STM. The VT-STM has the capability of acquiring images between the temperature range of 180–500 K. The performance of the chamber is demonstrated here by producing an ordered array of island vacancy defects on a Pt(111) surface and obtaining STM images of these defects. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.