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An ideal tip can be fabricated for scanning tunneling microscopy by forming the tip of tungsten and plating the tip with other metals or alloys to obtain the desired properties.
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Tip Fabrication for Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
An ideal tip can be fabricated for scanning tunneling microscopy by forming
the tip of tungsten and plating the tip with other metals or alloys to obtain the
Tungsten is etched to produce a non-bending, fine point, such as 500-1000
Ao radius. After etching, the electro-chemical oxide is removed, as with dilute
hydrofluoric acid at 700oC, and thin layers of the desired selected metals (gold,
platinum or iridium) electrochemically deposited on the tip. Although only 30-50
Ao are required, the deposition of a few hundred Angstrom units allows for
possible thickness variations. If electrodeposition is used, the highest electric
field occurs at the tip where the preferred deposition occurs. Should single
crystal tips be required, electrodeposition may be followed by an anisotropic
chemical etch to reveal particular chemical planes at the tip.