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Scanning Tunneling Microscopic Investigations into the Conductance of Single-Atom Junctions

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Abstract:

Experiments using a scanning tunneling microscope to controllably fabricate single-atom contacts are reviewed. An important feature of this approach is that the electronic and geometric properties of the junctions can be characterized prior to and after contact formation. Investigations on magnetic contacts have led to the observation of unusual conductance values. Spectroscopy of the electronic states of single atoms in contact with the tip is demonstrated through the observation of the Kondo effect and of surface state localization at adsorbed atoms. Time-resolved two-level fluctuations of a single-atom tunneling contact reveal heating of the junction in an otherwise cryogenic environment.

Keywords: BALLISTIC ELECTRON TRANSPORT; CONDUCTANCE QUANTIZATION; SCANNING TUNNELING MICROSCOPY; SCANNING TUNNELING SPECTROSCOPY; SINGLE-ATOM CONTACT

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jspm.2009.1009

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) typically covers atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM, or SNOM) and related technologies. Since its invention in early 1980s, SPM has now been regarded as one of the major driving forces for the rapid development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and the tool of choice in many areas of research. Journal of Scanning Probe Microscopy (JSPM) provides a forum for rapid dissemination of important developments in SPM technology. JSPM offers scientists, engineers and developers timely, peer-reviewed research on SPM science and technology of the highest quality. JSPM publishes original rapid communications, full research papers and timely state-of-the-art reviews (with author's photo and biography) encompassing the fundamental and applied research on SPM in all fields of science, engineering, and medicine.
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