We report on the fabrication and performance of a new kind of tip for scanning tunneling microscopy. By fully incorporating a metallic tip on a silicon chip using modern micromachining and nanofabrication techniques, we realize so-called smart tips and show the possibility of device-based STM tips. Contrary to conventional etched metal wire tips, these can be integrated into lithographically defined electrical circuits. We describe a new fabrication method to create a defined apex on a silicon chip and experimentally demonstrate the high performance of the smart tips, both in stability and resolution. In situ tip preparation methods are possible and we verify that they can resolve the herringbone reconstruction and Friedel oscillations on Au(111) surfaces. We further present an overview of possible applications.
- scanning tunneling microscopy
- device physics