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Modeling Electronic Structures on the Nanometer Scale by Atomic Force Microscope

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000114868D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-30
Document File: 2 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Binnig, GK: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

It is well known and has been demonstrated many times that surfaces of materials can be modified by Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and STM methods on the nanometer (nm) scale. By AFM, however, also complex surfaces with coexisting insulating and conducting regions can easily be altered by scratching. Using this method, electronic devices on the nm scale can be built.

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Modeling Electronic Structures on the Nanometer Scale by Atomic Force
Microscope

      It is well known and has been demonstrated many times that
surfaces of materials can be modified by Atomic Force Microscope
(AFM) and STM methods on the nanometer (nm) scale.  By AFM, however,
also complex surfaces with coexisting insulating and conducting
regions can easily be altered by scratching.  Using this method,
electronic devices on the nm scale can be built.

      As an example, a fine conducting line (gold)  is deposited on
an insulating substrate (silicon oxide) as shown in the Figure-A.
The width of the line is roughly 500 nm and its height about 40 nm.
By scratching across this line with elevated loading forces on the
tip, a weak link is produced (Figure-B).  During this procedure,  the
resistance of the line is measured.  Thus, it is possible to
establish a well defined resistance of the weak link.  The scratch
has a width of only a few nm and already represents an electronic
device because of the strongly non-linear I-V characteristic of the
weak link.

      Further scratching resulted in a fine insulating gap within the
metallic line (Figure-C).  By applying a current limited voltage
pulse of ten to twenty volts to the gap, the line is turned
conductive again with strongly non-linear and asymmetric I-V
characteristics.  As furthermore its resistance is found to be very
light sensitive, this gap presents a photodetector with nanometer
dimensions.