Scientific article

Study of field‐emitting microstructures using a scanning tunneling microscope

Publication date1990

Field emission from broad metal cathodes is known to be strongly enhanced at a small number of emitting sites per cm2 compared to the expected Fowler–Nordheim emission from ideal, flat surfaces. We have operated a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) in the field emission regime (typical tip voltage: +80 V) and measured the local field emission strengths and variations on niobium samples. With a modulation technique, which is an adaptation of the standard work function measurement, maps of the field enhancement factor β have been obtained. An example of an emission site is presented where STM topograph and β map are compared with a secondary electron microscope image and with field emission data obtained in a standard way using high‐voltage anodes. This demonstrates the capability of a scanning tunneling microscope to localize enhanced field emission sites (with typical β values of 50 in the present work) with high spatial resolution and to study surfaces down to the limit β=1.

Research group
Citation (ISO format)
NIEDERMANN, Philipp et al. Study of field‐emitting microstructures using a scanning tunneling microscope. In: Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films, 1990, vol. 8, n° 1, p. 594–597. doi: 10.1116/1.576349
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1520-8559

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