Low-amplitude, force gradient imaging of Cu(100) surface using tunnel current feedback

H. O. Ozer*, A. Norris, A. Oral, P. M. Hoffmann, J. B. Pethica

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The large corrugation amplitudes in scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) images of metal surfaces have been commonly attributed to the action of forces between the tip and the sample. We have investigated the Cu(100) surface using a high-resolution non-contact atomic force microscope/scanning tunnelling microscope (nc-AFM/STM) in UHV. Force gradient and STM topography images were acquired simultaneously using constant tunnelling current feedback. Force gradient images showed atomic resolution whereas STM scans exhibited almost no contrast, corresponding to a flat tip trajectory during scans. The corrugation height in force gradient images was found to increase as the set tunnelling current was increased. Force gradient and tunnel current were directly measured as a function of separation, to determine the operating conditions during imaging. The STM operation regime is found to lie between the minimum of the stiffness curve and the start of repulsive force.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S5-S8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


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