GaN nanowires as probes for high resolution atomic force and scanning tunneling microscopy

Sofie Yngman, Filip Lenrick, Yen-Po Liu, Zhe Ren, Maryam Khalilian, B. J. Ohlsson, Dan Hessman, Lars Samuelson, Rainer Timm, Anders Mikkelsen

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


GaN nanowires are potential candidates for use in scanning probe microscopy due to their well-defined, reproducible, geometric shapes, their hardness, and their light guiding properties. We have developed and investigated probes for high resolution atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy utilizing GaN nanowires as probes. The nanowires are n-doped and the morphology of the nanowires has been tailored for scanning probe microscopy by growing them with a sharp tip for measurements and high thickness for robustness. The individual GaN nanowires were removed from their growth substrate and attached onto commercial atomic force microscopy cantilevers or etched tungsten wires for scanning tunneling microscopy. A standard scanning electron microscope equipped with a nanoprobe, a focused ion beam column and a gas injection system was used to locate, transfer, and attach the nanowires. We evaluated the properties of the GaN probes on different substrates including HOPG, Au, SiO2, InAs, and GaAs. We demonstrate both atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy measurements with single atomic layer resolution and evaluate the robustness of the tips by monitoring them before and after scanning. Finally, we explore the use of the tips for scanning tunneling spectroscopy demonstrating that reliable results, which can reveal information on the electronic properties of the surface-tip system, are obtainable. The fundamental properties of these probes, which are demonstrated in this work, show promise for future use of the probes in exploring semiconductor-semiconductor tunneling junctions at the nanoscale as well as for other scanning probe techniques where high resolution is required.
TidskriftReview of Scientific Instruments
StatusPublished - 2019 sep.

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