Noble metal/W(111) single-atom tips and their field electron and ion emission characterises

Hong Shi Kuo, Ing Shouh Hwang*, Tsu Yi Fu, Yu Chun Lin, Che Cheng Chang, Tien T. Tsong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


We have developed a simple, reliable and reproducible method for preparing single-atom tips. With electrochemical techniques, a very small amount of a noble metal is plated on the surface of a clean W(111) tip. Upon annealing the tip at an appropriate temperature in vacuum, a three-sided {211} pyramid with a single-atom sharpness is formed spontaneously at the tip apex by adsorbate-induced faceting. This tip is both thermally and chemically stable, and can be regenerated several ten times when accidentally damaged. We use a field ion microscope to examine the atomic structure of the tip apex layer by layer and characterize the corresponding electron emission in the field emission mode. Some properties of Ne+ ions emitted from a single-atom tip are also measured, indicating a high brightness and a small extension angle. Many desirable features make the single-atom tips very promising for future particle beam applications in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8972-8983
Number of pages12
JournalJapanese Journal of Applied Physics, Part 1: Regular Papers and Short Notes and Review Papers
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Nov 15


  • Adsorbate-induced faceting
  • Electron field emission
  • Field ion beams
  • Single-atom tips

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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