Design, Operation, and Housing of an Ultrastable, Low Temperature, Ultrahigh Vacuum Scanning Tunneling Microscope

J. H. Ferris, J. G. Kushmerick, J. A. Johnson, M. G. Yoshikawa Youngquist, R. B. Kessinger, H. F. Kingsbury and P. S. Weiss,*

Review of Scientific Instruments 69, 2691-2695 (1998).


We have designed and constructed a low temperature, ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscope (STM), taking extreme measures to isolate the microscope from acoustic, vibrational, and electronic noise. We combined a 4K STM with line-of-sight dosing to enable one to position the crystal surface in front of an impinging molecular beam as in scattering experiments. Due to the mechanical stability of the instrument and the minimal thermal drift associated with working at 4K we are able to locate and to image repeatedly isolated adsorbates and atomic-scale structures, such as step edges, for extended periods - days. The instrument has been designed for the topographic and spectroscopic characterization of atoms and molecules on metal and semiconductor surfaces, for the investigation of the mechanism by which the STM images adsorbates on surfaces, and for inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy of single molecules.