Atomic-scale templates patterned by ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy on silicon

Michael A. Walsh, Mark C. Hersam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) scanning tunneling microscope (STM) enables patterning and characterization of the physical, chemical, and electronic properties of nanostructures on surfaces with atomic precision. On hydrogen-passivated Si(100) surfaces, selective nanopatterning with the STM probe allows the creation of atomic-scale templates of dangling bonds surrounded by a robust hydrogen resist. Feedback-controlled lithography, which can remove a single hydrogen atom from the Si(100):H surface, demonstrates high-resolution nanopatterning. The resulting patterns can be used as templates for a variety of materials to form hybrid silicon nanostructures while maintaining a pristine background resist. The versatility of this UHV-STM nanolithography approach has led to its use on a variety of other substrates, including alternative hydrogen-passivated semiconductor surfaces, molecular resists, and native oxide resists. This review discusses the mechanisms of STM-induced hydrogen desorption, the postpatterning deposition of molecules and materials, and the implications for nanoscale device fabrication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-216
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Physical Chemistry
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Feedback-controlled lithography
  • Nanoelectronics
  • Nanolithography
  • Surface chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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