Imaging in real time with the tunneling microscope

Bryant, A.; Smith, D. P. E.; Quate, C. F.
March 1986
Applied Physics Letters;3/31/1986, Vol. 48 Issue 13, p832
Academic Journal
We report the achievement of real-time video rate images of the atomic surface of graphite using the scanning tunneling microscope (STM). In this high-speed mode of operation the topographic information is extracted directly from variations in the tunneling current. We find that this high-speed technique offers the following advantages: the microscope becomes insensitive to most low frequency vibrations; piezoelectric scanner hysteresis appears to be reduced; and the effect of 1/f noise, which is conjectured to arise from diffusion of molecular species, is reduced by shifting the data to higher frequencies. The real-time technique offers the opportunity to observe dynamic atomic processes which occur on time scales previously incaccessible to the STM.


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