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ACS Nano. 2013 Aug 27;7(8):7370-6. doi: 10.1021/nn403097p. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Role of tip chemical reactivity on atom manipulation process in dynamic force microscopy.

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  • 1Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamada-Oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


The effect of tip chemical reactivity on the lateral manipulation of intrinsic Si adatoms toward a vacancy site on a Si(111)-(7 × 7) surface has been investigated by noncontact atomic force microscopy at room temperature. Here we measure the atom-hopping probabilities associated with different manipulation processes as a function of the tip-surface distance by means of constant height scans with chemically different types of tips. The interactions between different tips and Si atoms are evaluated by force spectroscopic measurements. Our results demonstrate that the ability to manipulate Si adatoms depends extremely on the chemical nature of the tip apex and is correlated with the maximal attractive force measured over Si adatoms. We rationalize the observed dependence of the atom manipulation process on tip-apex chemical reactivity by means of density functional theory calculations. The results of these calculations suggest that the ability to reduce the energy barrier associated with the Si adatom movement depends profoundly on tip chemical reactivity and that the level of energy barrier reduction is higher with tips that exhibit high chemical reactivity with Si adatoms. The results of this study provide a better way to control the efficiency of the atomic manipulation process for chemisorption systems.

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