Atomic theory of scanning tunneling microscopy

Date

1989

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Source Title

Physical Review B

Print ISSN

0163-1829

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Publisher

American Physical Society

Volume

40

Issue

15

Pages

10286 - 10293

Language

English

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Abstract

We present a quantitative analysis of the modifications of the scanning-tunneling-microscopy images due to the local perturbations of the electronic states induced by the tip in close proximity to the sample surface. Using an empirical tight-binding method, we have calculated the electronic states of a prototype tip-sample system consisting of a single-atom tip and the graphite surface, as a function of the tip-sample distance. We find that as the tip approaches the sample, their states start to interact and become laterally confined in the vicinity of the tip at small tip-sample separation. These states influence the tunneling phenomenon by connecting the tip and sample surface electronically. The effect of the tip-induced localized states is discussed, and the expression for the tunneling current is reformulated by incorporating the tip-induced states. Calculations using this expression show that the corrugation amplitude obtained from scanning tunneling microscopy is enhanced and deviates from the proportionality to the local density of states of the bare sample at the Fermi level evaluated at the center of the tip. © 1989 The American Physical Society.

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