Single-electron tunneling to insulator surfaces detected by electrostatic force

Klein, L. J.; Williams, C. C.
December 2002
Applied Physics Letters;12/9/2002, Vol. 81 Issue 24, p4589
Academic Journal
The detection of single-electron tunneling events between a metallic scanning probe tip and an insulating surface is demonstrated by an electrostatic force method. When a voltage-biased oscillating atomic force microscopy tip is placed within tunneling range of the surface of an insulator, single-electron tunneling events are observed between the tip and electronic states at the surface. The events cause an abrupt reduction in cantilever oscillation amplitude, due to the instantaneous reduction of the force gradient at the tip. In most cases, only a single electron tunnels to or from the surface. Experimental data show that no physical contact is made during the tunneling events.


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