Novel STM-based depth profiling technique for the electronic characterization of thin film materials

Y. Fan, A. G. Fitzgerald, J. A. Cairns, P. John, C. E. Troupe, J. I B Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Material removal from a sample surface by operating a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) in the scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) mode can be controlled at the rate of a few angstroms per bias voltage ramping cycle. Monitoring the modified sample surface by tunneling spectroscopy allows determination of the electronic properties of the material. By combining these two capabilities, a novel type of depth profiling based on surface electronic properties has been proposed and studied. This depth profiling technique is based on the removal of small amounts of material obtained by operating the STM in the surface modification mode while simultaneously acquiring tunneling spectra from the material revealed by the tunneling electrons. The I-V curve profile is monitored on a pulse-by-pulse basis which allows the correlation of electronic properties with the etching depth. By this technique, the surface damage on the boron ion-implanted CVD diamond films and argon ion-etched CVD diamond films has been investigated. It has also been demonstrated that this technique can be used to measure thin film thickness. It is envisaged that this experimental technique could find applications in the characterization of shallow-doped semiconductor devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-637
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2000
Event5th International Symposium on Atomically Controlled Surfaces, Interfaces and Nanostructures - Provence, France
Duration: 6 Jul 19999 Jul 1999


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