Gold Coated Tungsten Tips for Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
Hipps, K. W.
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Electrochemically etched tungsten scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tips are dc sputter coated with 20 nm of gold (0.04 rim/s and 10 mTorr of argon). Transmission electron microscope (TEM) images of typical etched tips and gold-coated etched tips are presented. The gold layer forms as a series of spherical sections having a mean height of 6.7 nm and mean width of 19.6 nm. STM images are reported for the uncoated W tips, and for gold-coated graphite after coating the tip with gold. We also provide scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and STM images of the surface of a thin CuTCNQ film. The STM image taken with a gold-coated W tip compares very well to the SEM image of the same sample. Gold coating provides a relatively inexpensive and easy way to produce chemically stable tips of well known electronic structure for use in ambient atmosphere STM studies of morphology (structures ) 10 nm) where atomic resolution is not required.