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ERIC Number: EJ913315
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Preparation of Chemically Etched Tips for Ambient Instructional Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
Zaccardi, Margot J.; Winkelmann, Kurt; Olson, Joel A.
Journal of Chemical Education, v87 n3 p308-310 Mar 2010
A first-year laboratory experiment that utilizes concepts of electrochemical tip etching for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) is described. This experiment can be used in conjunction with any STM experiment. Students electrochemically etch gold STM tips using a time-efficient method, which can then be used in an instructional grade STM that operates under ambient conditions. Electrochemical etching is one method used by researchers to prepare tips for high-quality STM imaging. Whereas the most common materials used to fabricate electrochemically etched tips cannot be used in ambient STMs, this experiment is a way to integrate the importance of tip etching (as opposed to mechanically prepared tips) into an STM laboratory experiment. The students are able to make Au tips with a reasonably small radius of curvature (less than 100 nm). First-year undergraduate students with almost no previous experience using an STM instrument were routinely able to achieve atomic resolution on a graphite surface. (Contains 3 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A