Scanning Quantum Dot Microscopy

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Jul 10;115(2):026101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.026101. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Abstract

We introduce a scanning probe technique that enables three-dimensional imaging of local electrostatic potential fields with subnanometer resolution. Registering single electron charging events of a molecular quantum dot attached to the tip of an atomic force microscope operated at 5 K, equipped with a qPlus tuning fork, we image the quadrupole field of a single molecule. To demonstrate quantitative measurements, we investigate the dipole field of a single metal adatom adsorbed on a metal surface. We show that because of its high sensitivity the technique can probe electrostatic potentials at large distances from their sources, which should allow for the imaging of samples with increased surface roughness.