SPATIAL REPARTITION OF CURRENT FLUCTUATIONS IN A SCANNING TUNNELING MICROSCOPE

Jerome Lagoute, Tomaso Zambelli, Stephane Martin, Sebastien Gauthier

Abstract

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) is a technique where the surface topography of a conducting sample is probed by a scanning metallic tip. The tip-to-surface distance is controlled by monitoring the electronic tunneling current between the two metals. The aim of this work is to extend the temporal range of this instrument by characterising the time fluctuations of this current on different surfaces. The current noise power spectral density is dominated by a characteristic 1/f component, the physical origin of which is not yet clearly identified, despite a number of investigations. A new I-V preamplifier was developed in order to characterise these fluctuations of the tunnelling current and to obtain images of their spatial repartition. It is observed that their intensity is correlated with some topographical features. This information can be used to get insights on the physical phenomena involved that are not accessible by the usual STM set-up, which is limited to low frequencies.

Keywords
1/f noise; microscope; noise; STM; tunnel-junction

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v20.p175-179

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)