Time-resolved scanning tunnelling microscopy

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Scanning tunneling microscopy has revolutionized our ability to image, study, and manipulate solid surfaces on the size scale of atoms. One important limitation of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is, however, its poor time resolution. Recording a standard image with a STM typically takes about a fraction of a second for a fast scanning STM to several tens of seconds for a standard STM. The time resolution of a STM can, however, be significantly enhanced by at least several orders of magnitude. Here various methods are reviewed that are applied in order to significantly improve the time resolution of STM. These methods include high-speed or video STM, atom-tracking STM, and monitoring of the open feedback loop current or closed feedback loop z-piezo-voltage signals as a function of time. An analysis of the time-resolved STM data allows one to map out the potential landscape of the system under study.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1593-1605
Number of pages13
JournalReviews of modern physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • METIS-266590
  • IR-72810

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