Preparation of tips coated with poly(dimethylsiloxane) for scanning tunneling microscopy in aqueous solutions

Kuroda, Mizuki; Nishino, Tomoaki
June 2011
Review of Scientific Instruments;Jun2011, Vol. 82 Issue 6, p063707
Academic Journal
A simple and reliable method for preparing tips coated with poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) in aqueous solutions is reported. Au STM tips were dip-coated with PDMS and subsequently cured. The coated tips were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, and voltammetry. We show that the PDMS layer smoothly covers the tip surface except for its very apex. These tips enable atomically resolved imaging of a sample surface and measurement of single-molecule conductance below 1.0 nS with STM in aqueous solutions. Because of the superior compatibility of PDMS with organic solvents, the PDMS-coated tips would be useful for preparing molecular tips via their chemical modification in such solvents, enabling chemically selective imaging of a single molecule in water.


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