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Real-space Wigner-Seitz Cells Imaging of Potassium on Graphite via Elastic Atomic Manipulation

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number8276
Number of pages5
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

Atomic manipulation in the scanning tunnelling microscopy, conventionally a tool to build nanostructures one atom at a time, is here employed to enable the atomic-scale imaging of a model low-dimensional system. Specifically, we use low-temperature STM to investigate an ultra thin film (4 atomic layers) of potassium created by epitaxial growth on a graphite substrate. The STM images display an unexpected honeycomb feature, which corresponds to a real-space visualization of the Wigner-Seitz cells of the close-packed surface K atoms. Density functional simulations indicate that this behaviour arises from the elastic, tip-induced vertical manipulation of potassium atoms during imaging, i.e. elastic atomic manipulation, and reflects the ultrasoft properties of the surface under strain. The method may be generally applicable to other soft e.g. molecular or biomolecular systems.

Keywords

  • SCANNING-TUNNELING-MICROSCOPY, ALKALI-METAL ADSORPTION, SUBMONOLAYER POTASSIUM, LATERAL MANIPULATION, ELECTRONIC-STRUCTURE, GIANT CORRUGATIONS, PHASE-TRANSITIONS, ROOM-TEMPERATURE, SINGLE ATOMS, SURFACE

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland