An STM can modify the surface and material can be transported from the tip to the sample and back. If these actions can be performed in a controlled way widespread possibilities would arise: information storage devices, nanometer patterning technique, manipulations of big molecules and individual atoms, building of small devices.The most straightforward way to machine a surface by STM is by pushing the tip into the surface. This can result in a hole, but the tip can be damaged.
More protective STM tip influence is use of the current pulse. The sample surface under the tip can be melted and evaporates.
As Example of STM Lithography is presented STM image of three monolayers conducting LB film after local exposure to three electric pulses. Crater-like defects of one monolayer depth are readily seen.
- Biosensor & Bioelectronics 11, 923 (1996).