A method to measure the thermovoltage with a high spatial resolution

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We have recorded spatial maps of the thermovoltage of a Au(111) surface with a scanning tunneling microscope. The method relies on an approach where we record quasi-simultaneously the normal topography as well as the thermovoltage by switching the feedback and sample bias on and off. This setup can be combined with standard scanning tunneling microscopy and scanning tunnelingspectroscopy techniques. The thermovoltage, which arises from a temperature difference between scanning tunneling microscope tip and sample, is very sensitive to small variations of the local electronic density of states in vicinity of the Fermi level. Near step edges we have observed well-defined Friedel oscillations, while for the herringbone reconstruction, small variations of the local work-function are measured. By altering the tip-sample distance, the thermovoltage contrast can be adjusted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number141601
Number of pages4
JournalApplied physics letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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