Advances in Scanning Probe Microscopy

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 2:20 PM in Room 312

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2:20 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-1 Majorana Mode in Vortex core of Bi2Te3/NbSe2Topological Insulator-Superconductor Heterostructure
Jinfeng Jia (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)

Majorana fermions have been intensively studied in recent years for their importance to both fundamental science and potential applications in topological quantum computing1,2. Majorana fermions are predicted to exist in a vortex core of superconducting topological insulators3. However, they are extremely difficult to be distinguished experimentally from other quasiparticle states for the tiny energy difference between Majorana fermions and these states, which is beyond the energy resolution of most available techniques. Here, we overcome the problem by systematically investigating the spatial profile of the Majorana mode and the bound quasiparticle states within a vortex in Bi2Te3/NbSe24 by using in situ ultra-low temperature STM/STS. While the zero bias peak in local conductance splits right off the vortex center in conventional superconductors, it splits off at a finite distance ~20nm away from the vortex center in Bi2Te3/NbSe2, primarily due to the Majorana fermion zero mode. While the Majorana mode is destroyed by reducing the distance between vortices, the zero bias peak splits as a conventional superconductor again. This work provides strong evidences of Majorana fermions and also suggests a possible route to manipulating them.


1. J. Alicea, Rep. Prog. Phys.75, 076501 (2012).

2. C. W. J. Beenakker, Annu. Rev. Con. Mat. Phys. 4, 113 (2013).

3. L. Fu, C. L. Kane, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 096407 (2008).

4. M. X. Wang et al., Science 336, 52 (2012)

* In cooperation with Jin-Peng Xu, Mei-Xiao Wang, Zhi Long Liu, Jian-Feng Ge, Xiaojun Yang, Canhua Liu, Zhu An Xu, Dandan Guan, Chun Lei Gao, Dong Qian, Ying Liu, Qiang-Hua Wang, Fu-Chun Zhang, Qi-Kun Xue

3:00 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-3 Robust Protection from Backscattering in the Topological Insulator Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.7Se1.3
Fumio Komori, Sunghun Kim, Shunsuke Yoshizawa, Yukiaki Ishida (University of Tokyo, Japan); Kazuma Eto, Kouji Segawa (Osaka University, Japan); Shik Shin (University of Tokyo, Japan); Yoichi Ando (Osaka University, Japan)

Three-dimensional (3D) topological insulators (TIs) are accompanied by gapless surface states due to a nontrivial Z2 topology of the bulk wave functions. The topological surface state (TSS) of a 3D TI is helically spin polarized, which leads to a suppression of electron scatterings due to spin mismatch between the eigenstates before and after the scattering. The suppression has been inferred from the measurements of quasiparticle interference (QPI) using scanning tunneling microscopy. No QPI was observed for intraband scatterings within unwarped TSSs. However, it has not been clear to what extent the scattering is suppressed within TSS.

In the present study, we have elucidated how the elastic scattering is suppressed as a function of the scattering angle and electron energy in the helically-spin-polarized surface electrons in a single and unwarped upper Dirac cone of Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.7Se1.3. In this material [1], EF is located very close to the Dirac energy ED. We compared the scattering wave vectors observed at 5 K with the diameters of the constant-energy contours of the unoccupied TSS which was measured by using time-resolved ARPES implementing a pump-probe method. Moreover, the inelastic scattering time of unoccupied TSS was directly obtained by this method.

At the energy above ED, we found that there is a sharp threshold for the length of the scattering vector, above which the observed QPI intensity is abruptly diminished [2]. Such a threshold indicates the existence of a well-defined critical scattering angle beyond which elastic scattering is suddenly suppressed. The observed protection from backscattering in the TSS occurs not only for 180° but also for a wide range of angles between 100° and 180°. Such a wide angle range for the protection from backscattering is found to be essentially independent of the energy up to 300 meV above ED until the Dirac cone becomes warped and/or the bulk scattering events intervene. At energies higher than 300 meV, we found hexagonal patterns in the FT-QPI images that come from warping of the TSS Dirac cone. In this energy range, the critical scattering vector was not clearly observed, indicating a different mechanism of the protection from backscattering in the warped Dirac cone. The observed inelastic scattering lifetime of TSS is longer than 10 psec just above EF. The robust protection from the backscattering and long inelastic scattering in the TSS strongly support the possible applications for electronics and spintronics using weak electron scattering of TSS at EF.


1. A. A. Taskin, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 066803 (2012).

2. S. Kim, et al, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 136802 (2014).

3:20 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-4 Measurements and Analysis of Sub Nanometer Stepped Surfaces Using a Traceable Atomic Force Microscope
Ndubuisi Orji (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)); Satoshi Gonda (AIST, Japan); Ronald Dixson (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST))

Although scanning probe microscopes are used in a wide variety of nanoscale measurements, the issue of instrument characterization, accuracy and calibration, continue to be a limiting factor in interpreting the resulting data. In order to accurately characterize dimensional linearity and accuracy at the sub-nanometer range, samples and robust analysis techniques suited to measurements at this range should be used.

Using Al203 surfaces on the c(0001), a(110), and r(102) planes, and robust analyses techniques, we evaluate stepped surfaces for linearity characterization at the nanoscale. Measurements were performed using a traceable atomic force microscope (T-AFM) with displacement interferometry in all three axes. The T-AFM, which has a metrology scanning stage monitored in six axes, is housed in a mini environment with a long term temperature range of less than 2 mK, and serves as a stable platform to develop calibration standards.

The smallest of the features Al203 c(0001) with a height of 0.22 nm shows a combined uncertainty of 0.01 nm, with a linearity of 0.009%. The intrinsic traceability of the T-AFM (through displacement interferometer to the SI meter) provides additional verification to the size naturally occurring steps of the Al203 and other samples used. The results show that robust and stable linearization and calibration procedures could be developed for sub nanometer SPM characterization with low uncertainty. This will enable and support accurate dimensional characterization of scientifically relevant surfaces.

4:20 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-7 Direct Observation of Edge States of 1D and 2D Topological insulators
Han Woong Yeom (Institute for Basic Science, Republic of Korea)

1D and 2D toplogical insulators (TI’s) are characterized by 0D and 1D edge states of exotic spin-charge characteristics. In this talk, we introduce the first direct real space observations of such 0D and 1D edge channels of 1D and 2D TI’s by scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy. The 1D TI utilized is the charge density wave phase of In atomic wires formed on the Si(111) surface, which we discovered in 1999. We clearly identified, topographically and spectroscopically, two different soliton excitations along the wires. The unique features of these solitons, theoretically unraveled as chiral solitons of the Z4 topology, are discussed. On the other hand, a Bi(111) bilayer was theoretically predicted as a 2D TI in 2005. We have grown Bi(111) bilayer nanoislands with zigzag edges on the surface of Bi2Te2Se. Along those edges, we identified the edge localized electronic state in accordance with first principle calculations. The unexpected electronic structures of the epitaxial Bi(111) bilayer and the Bi/Bi2Te2Se interface are discussed. These two findings pave the avenue towards the microscopic study and the nanoscale utilization of topological solitons and quantum spin Hall states.

5:00 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-9 Controlling Charges of the Dipole Layer at Metal-Semiconductor Interfaces
Tae-Hwan Kim (Pohang University of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea); Han Woong Yeom (Pohang University of Science and Technology and Institute for Basic Science, Republic of Korea)

Metal-semiconductor interfaces have drawn a lot of interest in the field of semiconductor surface and interface science, and have been one of the most essential parts in semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices. For example, the Schottky-barrier height experimentally observed at the metal-semiconductor interface appears to be nearly independent of the work function of the metal. Since the time of Bardeen, interface gap states seem to have been a primary mechanism of the Schottky-barrier height causing Fermi level pinning at metal-semiconductor interfaces. Recently, polarized chemical bonds at metal-semiconductor interfaces have been recognised to lead to the apparent Fermi level pinning effect. When these interface bonds are formed underneath thin metal islands grown on a silicon substrate, a spontaneous charge transfer across the semiconductor-metal interfaces occurs as a result of the difference in the Fermi level positions between the metal and the semiconductor. These polarized chemical bonds can form a dipole layer. This dipole layer can play an important role in many areas of technology, for instance, in organic light emitting diodes. However, some of the fundamental aspects of the charge injection process into/from the interface dipole layer at the Schottky contact are yet not explored in any real detail.

In this work, we report the use of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to form a double-barrier tunneling junction (DBTJ) with thin metallic nanoislands grown on Si(111) and to control charges of the interface dipole layer formed between the metallic nanoislands and the Si(111) substrate. Reversible hysteric switchings in their I−V and differential conductance spectra are observed due to the charging and discharging of the interface dipole layer in a similar fashion to molecular DBTJs. STM images clearly visualize the distinct charge states and scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) spectra reveal that quantum well states (QWSs) of the ultrathin islands act as the charging/discharging channels in analogy to the molecular orbitals in the case of the molecular DBTJs. This work demonstrates that the charges of the interface dipole layer at the nanoscale Schottky contact can be controlled by the electron transfer via the QWSs of the metallic islands.

5:20 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-10 Advances in Imaging and Quantification of Electrical Properties at the Nanoscale using Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM)
Stuart Friedman, Yongliang Yang, Oskar Amster (PrimeNano, Inc); Scott Johnston (Stanford University)
Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM) is a novel mode for AFM-enabling imaging of unique contrast mechanisms and measurement of local permittivity and conductivity at the 10’s of nm length scale. Custom shielded AFM probes enable the system to use microwaves to probe the impedance of the tip sample interface and extract information on local electrical properties of the sample. After introducing the theory of operation, we will review the state of the art, including imaging studies of microelectronic devices as well as novel materials and nanostructures, such as graphene and patterned optical crystals and ferro-electrics. These studies reveal novel information about doping distributions, domains, domain walls and other features. In addition to imaging, the technique is suited to a variety of metrology applications where specific physical properties are determined quantitatively. We will present research results on quantitative measurements of dielectric constant (permittivity) and conductivity (e.g. dopant concentration) for a range of materials. For samples where properties such as dielectric constant are known the technique can be used to measure film thickness.
5:40 PM SP+AS+BI+NS+SS-WeA-11 Scanning Photocurrent Microscopy on MoS2, MoS2(1-x)Se2x, and MoSe2 Monolayer Islands and Films Grown by CVD
Velveth Klee, David Barroso, Edwin Preciado (University of California - Riverside); Kristopher Erickson (Sandia National Laboratories); Mark Triplett (University of California -Davis); Chris Lee, Ariana Nguyen, I-Hsi Lu, Sarah Bobek, John Mann (University of California - Riverside); Alec Talin, Francois Leonard (Sandia National Laboratories); Ludwig Bartels (University of California - Riverside)

We presents scanning photocurrent measurements on CVD-grown monolayer films of molybdenum disulfide, molybdenum diselenide and the alloys of these materials. Our experiments reveal a pronounced effect of the current on excitation in the gap region between contacts, as opposed to directly at the electrodes. Measurements at different irradiation intensity, irradiation position and bias shed light on the charge transfer processes in this material system. Thermal effects are ruled out by complementary measurements of thermal transport using infrared imaging.