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The butterfly - a well-defined constant-current topography pattern on Si(001):H and Ge(001):H resulting from current-induced defect fluctuations

AuthorsEngelund, Mads; Godlewski, Szymon; Kolmer, Marek; Zuzak, Rafał; Such, Bartosz; Frederiksen, Thomas; Szymonski, Marek; Sánchez-Portal, Daniel
Issue Date2016
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
CitationPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics 18(28): 19309-19317 (2016)
AbstractDangling bond (DB) arrays on Si(001):H and Ge(001):H surfaces can be patterned with atomic precision and they exhibit complex and rich physics making them interesting from both technological and fundamental perspectives. But their complex behavior often makes scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) images difficult to interpret and simulate. Recently it was shown that low-temperature imaging of unoccupied states of an unpassivated dimer on Ge(001):H results in a symmetric butterfly-like STM pattern, despite that the equilibrium dimer configuration is expected to be a bistable, buckled geometry. Here, based on a thorough characterization of the low-bias switching events, we propose a new imaging model featuring a dynamical two-state rate equation. This model allows us to reproduce the features of the observed symmetric empty-state images which strongly corroborates the idea that the patterns arise due to fast switching events and provides insight into the relation between the tunneling current and switching rates. Our new imaging model is general and can be applied to other systems that exhibit rapid fluctuations during STM experiments.
DescriptionThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6CP04031D
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