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Title: Facility for low-temperature spin-polarized-scanning tunneling microscopy studies of magnetic/spintronic materials prepared in situ by nitride molecular beam epitaxy

Based on the interest in, as well as exciting outlook for, nitride semiconductor based structures with regard to electronic, optoelectronic, and spintronic applications, it is compelling to investigate these systems using the powerful technique of spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), a technique capable of achieving magnetic resolution down to the atomic scale. However, the delicate surfaces of these materials are easily corrupted by in-air transfers, making it unfeasible to study them in stand-alone ultra-high vacuum STM facilities. Therefore, we have carried out the development of a hybrid system including a nitrogen plasma assisted molecular beam epitaxy/pulsed laser epitaxy facility for sample growth combined with a low-temperature, spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscope system. The custom-designed molecular beam epitaxy growth system supports up to eight sources, including up to seven effusion cells plus a radio frequency nitrogen plasma source, for epitaxially growing a variety of materials, such as nitride semiconductors, magnetic materials, and their hetero-structures, and also incorporating in situ reflection high energy electron diffraction. The growth system also enables integration of pulsed laser epitaxy. The STM unit has a modular design, consisting of an upper body and a lower body. The upper body contains the coarse approach mechanism and the scanner unit,more » while the lower body accepts molecular beam epitaxy grown samples using compression springs and sample skis. The design of the system employs two stages of vibration isolation as well as a layer of acoustic noise isolation in order to reduce noise during STM measurements. This isolation allows the system to effectively acquire STM data in a typical lab space, which during its construction had no special and highly costly elements included, (such as isolated slabs) which would lower the environmental noise. The design further enables tip exchange and tip coating without breaking vacuum, and convenient visual access to the sample and tip inside a superconducting magnet cryostat. A sample/tip handling system is optimized for both the molecular beam epitaxy growth system and the scanning tunneling microscope system. The sample/tip handing system enables in situ STM studies on epitaxially grown samples, and tip exchange in the superconducting magnet cryostat. The hybrid molecular beam epitaxy and low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy system is capable of growing semiconductor-based hetero-structures with controlled accuracy down to a single atomic-layer and imaging them down to atomic resolution.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22254950
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Review of Scientific Instruments; Journal Volume: 85; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; CRYOSTATS; ELECTRON DIFFRACTION; HYBRID SYSTEMS; LASERS; MAGNETIC MATERIALS; MOLECULAR BEAM EPITAXY; NITROGEN; RADIOWAVE RADIATION; SCANNING TUNNELING MICROSCOPY; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; SPIN ORIENTATION; SUPERCONDUCTING MAGNETS