A phantom force induced by the tunneling current.

ROM 2012-3
Author: A. J. Weymouth, T. Wutscher, J. Welker, T. Hofmann, and F. J. Giessibl
Institute: Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
Publication: A. J. Weymouth, T. Wutscher, J. Welker, T. Hofmann, and F. J. Giessibl, “Phantom force induced by tunneling current: A characterization on Si(111)” Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 226801 (2011)
Instrument: LT STM

Simultaneous measurements of tunneling current and atomic forces provide complementary atomic-scale data of the electronic and structural properties of surfaces and adsorbates. With these data, we characterize a strong impact of the tunneling current on the measured force on samples with limited conductivity. The effect is a lowering of the effective gap voltage through sample resistance which in turn lowers the electrostatic attraction, resulting in an apparently repulsive force. This effect is expected to occur on other low-conductance samples, such as adsorbed molecules, and to strongly affect Kelvin probe measurements when tunneling occurs.

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