Scientists Manipulate Atoms on a Rough 3-D Surface

Jan 25, 2007

Ohio University nanoscientists have used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to manipulate individual atoms on a rough terrain. It is the first atom manipulation of its kind done on a three-dimensional surface.

Only a select group of scientists have manipulated individual atoms because the procedure requires atomic scale precision and control. Even greater precision and accuracy is required for atom manipulation on rough surfaces.

A movie of the atom extraction can be viewed online.

"This technique is very useful to produce single atoms for atomic constructions. It also helps us understand one of the most fundamental subjects, interaction between the matters,” said Saw-Wai Hla, the lead researcher and an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio University. The research was published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

To perform the manipulation, the researchers coat a custom-built, low-temperature STM tip with silver atoms. Some of the silver atoms are deposited by gently touching the tip to the silver surface. A three-dimensional image of the silver cluster is taken to determine ideal target zones for atom removal. Once ideal areas have been located, the silver-coated tip approaches the silver cluster — but they never make contact. Approaching the tip within less than a tenth of a nanometer of the cluster loosens the top atom. Moving the tip laterally across the surface drags the loosened atom and results in extraction.

The STM tip does not have to come in contact with the cluster because close proximity of the atoms causes reduced binding. This concept is based on theory proposed by University of Central Florida researchers led by Professor Talat Rahman.


Source: by by LIZ LEITCH, Ohio University

Explore further: Study reveals new characteristics of complex oxide surfaces

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smallest Swiss cross—made of 20 single atoms

Jul 15, 2014

The manipulation of atoms has reached a new level: Together with teams from Finland and Japan, physicists from the University of Basel were able to place 20 single atoms on a fully insulated surface at room ...

Atomic force microscope systems take a tip from nanowires

May 26, 2014

(Phys.org) —In response to requests from the semiconductor industry, a team of PML researchers has demonstrated that atomic force microscope (AFM) probe tips made from its near-perfect gallium nitride nanowires ...

Nano-imaging probes molecular disorder

Jun 13, 2014

Using a newly developed imaging method, LMU researchers show that thin-film organic semiconductors contain regions of structural disorder that could inhibit the transport of charge and limit the efficiency ...

Recommended for you

A crystal wedding in the nanocosmos

Jul 23, 2014

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the Vienna University of Technology and the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Lublin have succeeded in embedding nearly perfect semiconductor ...

PPPL studies plasma's role in synthesizing nanoparticles

Jul 22, 2014

DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has received some $4.3 million of DOE Office of Science funding, over three years, to develop an increased understanding of the role of plasma in the synthesis ...

User comments : 0