Apparent Barrier Height in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Revisited

L. Olesen, Mads Brandbyge, Mads Reinholdt Sørensen, Karsten Wedel Jacobsen, E. Lægsgaard, I. Stensgaard, Flemming Besenbacher

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Abstract

The apparent barrier height phi(ap), that is, the rate of change of the logarithm of the conductance with tip-sample separation in a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), has been measured for Ni, Pt, and Au single crystal surfaces. The results show that phi(ap) is constant until point contact is reached rather than decreasing at small tunneling gap distances, as previously reported. The findings for phi(ap) can be accounted for theoretically by including the relaxations of the tip-surface junction in an STM due to the strong adhesive forces at close proximity. These relaxation effects are shown also to be generally relevant under imaging conditions at metal surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume76
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1485-1488
ISSN0031-9007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Copyright (1996) American Physical Society.

Keywords

  • ADHESION
  • PACKED METAL-SURFACES
  • RESISTANCE
  • POINT CONTACT
  • ATOMIC-RESOLUTION

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