A scanning probe microscopy (SPM) study of Bi(110) nanostructures on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG)
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This research work is aimed at understanding the electronic properties of Bi(110) nanostructures. This study chiefly uses Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM), Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy (STS) and Non Contact Atomic Force Microscope (NCAFM) to investigate the geometric and electronic structure of Bi(110) islands on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) substrate.
STM measurements are the primary focus of the thesis which involves imaging the bismuth islands and study of its atomic structure. STM images of the Bi(110) islands reveal a ‘wedding cake’ profile of the bismuth islands that show paired layers on top of a base. I(V) (Current vs voltage) data was acquired via STS techniques and its first derivative was compared to DFT calculations. The comparison implied the presence of a dead wetting layer which was present only underneath the bismuth islands. We observed bilayer damped oscillations in the surface energy that were responsible for the stability of paired layers in Bi(110) islands. Interesting Moiré pattern arising out of misorientation between the substrate and the overlayer are also observed in STM images on some bismuth islands.
Bright features pertaining to enhanced LDOS (local density of states) were observed on the perimeter of the bismuth islands and stripes in the STM images and STS dI/dV maps which appear at energies around the Fermi level. The bright features which we termed as ‘bright beaches (BB)’ are also observed on grain boundaries and defects that suggest that they are related to termination of the chain of bismuth atoms.
The Bi(110) islands and stripes were observed to form preferred widths with a well defined periodicity. This peculiar phenomenon was attributed to a lateral quantum size effect (QSE) that results from a Fermi wave vector with appropriate shifts in Fermi energy. The widths of the islands prefer to adjust themselves at the nodes of this in-plane Fermi wavelength.
NaCl deposited on a HOPG substrate forms cross shaped islands which were used as spacers to limit the interaction between the bismuth films and the underlying HOPG substrate. The NaCl islands are transparent to the flow of tunneling current and allow STS measurements. The LDOS of Bi/HOPG was very similar to the LDOS of Bi deposited on NaCl/HOPG which suggests that the wetting layer underneath the bismuth islands plays an important role in decoupling the film from the underlying substrate.