Can surface embedded atoms be moved with an STM tip?
Department of Applied Physics, center for NanoMaterials (cNM) and
COBRA Research Institute, Eindhoven University of Technology
P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 23 July 2003
We present strong experimental evidence for a controlled room temperature movement of single atoms of incorporated in a surface under the influence of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip. The atoms move preferentially along such nearest-neighbor directions in the surface which lie in an acute angle to the vertical sweep direction of the STM tip, revealing a tip-induced displacement anisotropy. The induced motion of the atoms is controllable by the tip bias voltage. We propose that a tip-mediated surface vacancy exchange process is responsible for the observed motion of the impurity atoms. This phenomenon could be very attractive for room temperature creation of stable nanostructures.
PACS: 68.37.Ef – Scanning tunneling microscopy (including chemistry induced with STM) / 68.65.-k – Low-dimensional, mesoscopic, and nanoscale systems: structure and nonelectronic properties / 68.35.Fx – Diffusion; interface formation
© EDP Sciences, 2003