A single hydrogen atom can be reversibly switched between two symmetric sites on a silicon dimer at the surface of Si(100) using a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). This is a model binary switch for silicon-based atom-scale reversible data storage at room temperature. In this paper we investigate two important aspects of using this single-atom switch as a memory device. First, the switching is electron stimulated, and through detailed modelling the switching probability per electron is accurately deduced. Second, we have investigated the possibilities for desorbing single hydrogen atoms to construct ordered arrays of switches to manufacture a memory device. Two desorption mechanisms have been considered: the well known electron-induced desorption at negative sample bias and a novel mechanism probably involving elastic deformation of the tip. For both mechanisms mechanical stability of the STM is of crucial importance. With our equipment it was possible to create a row of four switches in a controlled way.(Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version).
|Publication status||Published - 2001|