Manipulation of the charge state of single Au atoms on insulating multilayer films

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Jan 23;114(3):036801. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.036801. Epub 2015 Jan 22.


We show charge-state manipulation of single Au adatoms on 2-11 monolayer (ML) thick NaCl films on Cu surfaces by attaching or detaching single electrons via the tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM). Tristate charge control (neutral, negatively charged, and positively charged) is achieved. On Cu(100) and Cu(111) supports, charge tristability is achieved independently of the NaCl layer thickness. In contrast, on Cu(311), only Au anions are stable on the thinnest NaCl films, but neutral and positive charge states become sufficiently long lived on films thicker than 4 ML to allow AFM-based charge-state-manipulation experiments.