Variable-Temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope (VT-STM)

Photographs of the VT-STM chamber and its main components


This UHV-system is a compact versatile setup, constructed to study the growth, the optical and magnetic properties of ultrathin films and nanostructures on bare and pre-structured metal surfaces.

The apparatus is equipped with a home-made beetle type variable-temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope (VT-STM), a low energy electron diffractometer (ErLEED) and a Quadruple Mass Analyser (QMA). Additionally, strain free optical windows allow connecting a Reflectance Difference Spectrometer (RDS) and/or a Spectroscopic Ellipsometer (SE) for monitoring the optical properties of the growing structures in real-time. For the investigation of magnetic substrates and thin films an in-vacuo electromagnet is integrated into the chamber. The electromagnet can deliver up to μ0H = 200 mT on the sample surface. It consists of a Cu coil which doesn't obstruct the evaporator nor the optical access to the sample, such that magneto-optic measurements (RD-MOKE) can be performed during thin film growth [1].

The sample is mounted on a vibration-isolated helium cooled manipulator which allows to vary the sample temperature between 10 K and 1200 K and to position the sample in front of the different analytical tools and preparation sources.

For sample preparation and thin film deposition, the chamber is equipped with an e-beam evaporator (triple source) for metals, a Knudsen-cell for deposition of organic materials, an ion-gun for sputtering, an electron flood-gun, and a gas inlet-system.

With its many tools and features, this UHV-system is well suited for comprehensive studies of the surface properties of thin films and nanostructures. Accessible properties and phenomena include structure and morphology, adsorption/desorption kinetics, as well as optical, electronic, and magnetic properties.


For more information please contact: Michael Hohage and/or Andrea Navarro-Quezada


  1. R. Denk, M. Hohage, P. Zeppenfeld
    Extremely sharp spin reorientation transition in ultrathin Ni films gronwn on Cu(110)-(2x1)O
    Phys. Rev. B 79 (2009) 073407