Browse Prior Art Database

Snap-On Tips for Scanning Tunneling Microscopes

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000122160D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-04
Document File: 2 page(s) / 55K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Chen, CJ: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is a new mechanism for changing tips in scanning tunneling microscopes. This new mechanism is very easy to use in ultra-high vacuum systems and in cryogenic environments.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 68% of the total text.

Snap-On Tips for Scanning Tunneling Microscopes

      Disclosed is a new mechanism for changing tips in
scanning tunneling microscopes.  This new mechanism is very easy to
use in ultra-high vacuum systems and in cryogenic environments.

      The tunneling tip is crucial in obtaining atomic resolution and
reproducible tunneling characteristics in scanning tunneling
microscopy (STM) [*].  However, the making of the tip is not very
reproducible, and is vulnerable to damage.  Therefore, replacement of
tips is a routine operation in STM.

      A new and simple mechanism of exchanging the tip in STM is
disclosed.  Two different tip assemblies are shown in Figs. 1A and
1B.  The tip 2 is spot-welded on a sheet-metal spring clip 1, as
shown in Fig. 1A.  The spring clip 1 may be made from a simple
special mechanical tool and the spot-welding may be made with another
simple special mechanical tool which makes the relative position of
the tip 2 and the contour of the spring clip 1 reproducible.

      Alternatively, as shown in Fig. 1B, the tip 2 may be held by a
solid metal piece 3 with set screw 4 and spot-welded spring clip 1.

      Either tip assembly 5 or 6 may be handled by the jaw of a
manipulator (not shown), which is easy to install in a vacuum system.

      The tip assembly 5 or 6 is then mounted on the tip seat 5
at the end of the piezodrive 6 shown in Fig. 2.  The contour of the
tip assembly 5 or 6 matches that of spring clip 1 to provide...