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Journal Article

Measuring the Three-Dimensional Structure of Ultrathin Insulating Films at the Atomic Scale

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Loth,  S.
Dynamics of Nanoelectronic Systems, Independent Research Groups, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research;

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Citation

Baumann, S., Rau, I. G., Loth, S., Lutz, C. P., & Heinrich, A. J. (2014). Measuring the Three-Dimensional Structure of Ultrathin Insulating Films at the Atomic Scale. ACS Nano, 8(2), 1739-1744. doi:10.1021/nn4061034.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-BDF7-D
Abstract
The increasing technological importance of thin insulating layers calls for a thorough understanding of their structure. Here we apply scanning probe methods to investigate the structure of ultrathin magnesium oxide (MgO) which is the insulating material of choice in spintronic applications. A combination of force and current measurements gives high spatial resolution maps of the local three-dimensional insulator structure. When force measurements are not available, a lower spatial resolution can be obtained from tunneling images at different voltages. These broadly applicable techniques reveal a previously unknown complexity in the structure of MgO on Ag(001), such as steps in the insulator–metal interface.