Contamination-mediated deformation of graphite by the scanning tunneling microscope

H. Jonathon Mamin, Eric Ganz, David W. Abraham, Ruth Ellen Thomson, John Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

269 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that surface deformation mediated by contamination plays a major role in images of graphite obtained by a scanning tunneling microscope in air. Atomic resolution has been obtained with the surface compressed by as much as 100, where abnormally high atomic corrugations, up to 24, are observed. Calculation of the deformation profile reveals that the force necessary to deform the surface must be spread over several thousand square angstroms. The measured deformation is negligible in vacuum with a clean sample and tip, and the corrugation is 0.9.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9015-9018
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1986


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