Scanning tunneling microscopy in the field-emission regime: Formation of a two-dimensional electron cascade

Wolfgang S.M. Werner, Martin Oral, Tomáš Radlička, Jiří Zelinka, Ilona Müllerová, Alessandra Bellissimo, Gabriele Bertolini, Hugo Cabrera, Oguzhan Gürlü

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The signal generation mechanism of the scanning field-emission microscope has been investigated via model calculations combining deterministic trajectory calculations in the field surrounding the field-emission tip in vacuum, with Monte Carlo simulations of the electron transport inside the solid. This model gives rise to a two-dimensional electron cascade. Individual trajectories of detected backscattered electrons consist of repeated segments of travel in vacuum followed by a re-entry into the solid and re-emission into vacuum after being elastically or inelastically scattered. These so-called electron bouncing events also create secondary electrons at macroscopic distances away from the primary impact position. The signal reaching the detector is made up of elastically and inelastically backscattered primary electrons created near the impact position under the tip and those secondary electrons created far away from it.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Author(s).


Financial support by the FP7 People: Marie-Curie Actions Initial Training Network (ITN) SIMDALEE2 (Grant No. PITN 606988) is gratefully acknowledged. The computational results have been achieved using the Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC).

FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme606988
FP7 People: Marie-Curie ActionsITN


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