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J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2012 Mar;12(3):2394-8.

Hydrothermally-grown ZnO nanowire tips for scanning tunnelling microscopy.

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  • 1Nanoscience, University of Cambridge, 11 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0FF, UK.


The probe tip is pivotal in determining the resolution and nature of features observed in the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM). We have augmented a conventional Pt/Ir metallic tip with a hydrothermally grown ZnO nanowire (NW). Atomic resolution imaging of graphite is attained. Current-voltage (IV) characteristics demonstrate an asymmetry stemming from the unintentional n-type doping of the ZnO NW, whereas the expected Schottky barrier at the ZnO-Pt/Ir interface is shown to have negligible effect. Moreover the photoconductivity of the system is investigated, paving the way towards a photodetector capable of atomic resolution.

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