Most scanning probe techniques rely on the assumption that both sample and tip are free from adsorbates, residues, and oxide not deposited intentionally. Getting a clean sample surface can be readily accomplished by applying ion sputtering and subsequent annealing, whereas finding an adequate treatment for tips is much more complicated. The method of choice would effectively desorb undesired compounds without reducing the sharpness or the general geometry of the tip. Several devices which employ accelerated electrons to achieve this are described in the literature. To minimize both the effort to implement this technique in a UHV chamber and the overall duration of the cleaning procedure, we constructed a compact electron source fitted into a sample holder, which can be operated in a standard Omicron variable-temperature (VT)-STM while the tip stays in place. This way a maximum of compatibility with existing systems is achieved and short turnaround times are possible for tip cleaning.

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