Physics at the level of an atom is dominated by laws of quantum mechanics. Often, this is entangled with a high complexity in behavior of the systems at that length scale. Unravelling the properties of a material at the atomic level is, therefore, a challenging task that easily supersedes current computational capabilities. A route to circumvent this problem is found in physical realization of simpler quantum systems that are representative of the complex quantum systems one is interested in. These simpler physical systems, unlike their more complex counterparts, can actually be measured and information about the complex system, otherwise inaccessible, gained. This thesis describes experimental work focusing mainly on the property of magnetism in spin chains. To mimic these complex systems, we employ a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to build atomic chains on solid state surfaces and probe their magnetic properties. The intrinsic strength of STM in building and testing structures with single atom precision makes STM a great candidate for simulation of complex quantum systems. In addition to STM having a role of a quantum simulator, I present work supporting STM as a control device determining the very existence of the magnetic excitations of the atom it measures. Finally, I present experimental findings that suggest we are able to probe the magnetic excitations of the atom with subatomic resolution. In summary, this thesis work presents STM as a powerful probing and control tool for studies on quantum magnetism at the level of a single atom.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||19 Jun 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
- atomic magnetism
- scanning tunneling microscopy
- inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy