ABSTRACT: The possibility of measuring insulator surfaces with a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is demonstrated. The mechanism is attributed to the conduction caused by electron beam assisted carrier generation in the insulator. A scanning electron microscope is used as the electron source. A 10‐nm‐thick and 100‐nm‐wide line‐and‐space patterned silicon dioxide layer formed on silicon substrate is observed by the STM only when an electron beam is directed at the sample. Tunneling spectroscopy results indicate a band gap of about 5 eV, which is attributed to that of silicon dioxide of about 8 eV.
Applied Physics Letters 03/1994; · 3.84 Impact Factor