Applied Surface Science

FIM tips in SPM: Apex orientation and temperature considerations on atom transfer and diffusion

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Atoms transferred to W(1 1 1) and W(1 1 0) tip apices from the Au(1 1 1) surface during tunneling and approach to mechanical contact experiments in STM are characterized in FIM at room temperature and at 158 K. The different activation energies for diffusion on the (1 1 1) and (1 1 0) tip planes and the experiment temperature are shown to be important factors controlling the extent of changes to the atomic structure of the tip. W(1 1 1) tips are much better suited to scanning probe studies which require the characterization of an atomically defined tip and subsequent verification of its integrity in FIM. The statistics of the observed spikes in the tunneling current when the tips are approached to Au(1 1 1) are interpreted using a simple model of adatoms diffusing through the STM junction. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.