Shuyi Liu, Akitoshi Shiotari, Delroy Baugh, Martin Wolf, and Takashi Kumagai:
Phys. Rev. B 97 (19), 195417 (2018), pp.6;
Molecular hydrogen in a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) junction has been found to enhance the lateral spatial resolution of the STM imaging, referred to as scanning tunneling hydrogen microscopy (STHM). Here we report atomic resolution imaging of 2- and 3-monolayer (ML) thick ZnO layers epitaxially grown on Ag(111) using STHM. The enhanced resolution can be obtained at a relatively large tip to surface distance and resolves a more defective structure exhibiting dislocation defects for 3-ML-thick ZnO than for 2 ML. In order to elucidate the enhanced imaging mechanism, the electric and mechanical properties of the hydrogen molecular junction (HMJ) are investigated by a combination of STM and atomic force microscopy. It is found that the HMJ shows multiple kinklike features in the tip to surface distance dependence of the conductance and frequency shift curves, which are absent in a hydrogen-free junction. Based on a simple modeling, we propose that the junction contains several hydrogen molecules and sequential squeezing of the molecules out of the junction results in the kinklike features in the conductance and frequency shift curves. The model also qualitatively reproduces the enhanced resolution image of the ZnO films..
The original publication is available by link DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.97.195417