Amplifier for scanning tunneling microscopy at MHz frequencies

K. M. Bastiaans, T. Benschop, D. Chatzopoulos, D. Cho, Q. Dong, Y. Jin, M. P. Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) is limited to a bandwidth of a few kHz around DC. Here, we develop, build, and test a novel amplifier circuit capable of measuring the tunneling current in the MHz regime while simultaneously performing conventional STM measurements. This is achieved with an amplifier circuit including a LC tank with a quality factor exceeding 600 and a home-built, low-noise high electron mobility transistor. The amplifier circuit functions while simultaneously scanning with atomic resolution in the tunneling regime, i.e., at junction resistances in the range of giga-ohms, and down towards point contact spectroscopy. To enable high signal-to-noise ratios and meet all technical requirements for the inclusion in a commercial low temperature, ultra-high vacuum STM, we use superconducting cross-wound inductors and choose materials and circuit elements with low heat load. We demonstrate the high performance of the amplifier by spatially mapping the Poissonian noise of tunneling electrons on an atomically clean Au(111) surface. We also show differential conductance spectroscopy measurements at 3 MHz, demonstrating superior performance over conventional spectroscopy techniques. Further, our technology could be used to perform impedance matched spin resonance and distinguish Majorana modes from more conventional edge states.

Original languageEnglish
Article number093709
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ram Aluru, Marco Aprili, Irene Battisti, Sander Blok, Kier Heeck, Maarten Leeuwenhoek, Freek Massee, Kees van Oosten, Tjerk Oosterkamp, Marcel Rost, Jan van Ruiten-beek, and Gijsbert Verdoes for valuable discussions. This project was financially supported by the European Research Council (ERC StG SpinMelt) and by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO/OCW), as part of the Frontiers of Nanoscience program, as well as through Vidi (No. 680-47-536) and Projectruimte (No. 16PR1028) grants.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation


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