A scanning tunneling microscopy tip with a stable atomic structure

Yeong Cheol Kim*, David N. Seidman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A single stable adatom on a {110}-type plane of a tungsten tip is created via field-evaporation in a field-ion microscope (FIM) operating at room temperature. This single adatom has sufficient surface mobility at room temperature and migrates, in one-dimension, along a 〈111〉-type direction toward an edge of a {110}-type plane, due to the existence of an electric field gradient. The plane edge has a higher local electric field than its center, since it has a higher local geometric curvature. This result implies that the stable position of a single adatom during a scan of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip on a surface is at the edge and not at the center of a {110}-type plane at room temperature. Therefore, the electron wave function of a tip is not symmetric and this fact should be taken into account in a careful analysis of STM images. Also a tip with a dislocation emerging at a {110}-type plane is suggested as an improved STM tip configuration, as the step at the surface, created by the intersection of the dislocation with it, is a perpetual source of single adatoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalMetals and Materials International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Adatom
  • Dislocation
  • Field-ion microscopy
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Tungsten tip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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