Observation of silicon surface nanoholes by scanning tunneling microscopy

N. Ozaki, Y. Ohno, M. Tanbara, D. Hamada, J. Yamasaki, S. Takeda

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9 Citations (Scopus)


We have studied electron-irradiation-induced defects created on an electron exit surface of a Si thin film by means of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). Several electron-irradiated areas with different electron doses are provided for STM observation. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation reveals a number of silicon-surface-nanoholes of 2-3 nm in diameter and about 5 nm apart in an irradiated area whenever it receives the dose larger than 1.5 × 1024 e/cm2, while no distinctive TEM contrast of defects is observed in an area with lower dose. STM observation has shown that electron-irradiated surfaces are rougher than a nonirradiated surface. Examining the depth distribution of the areas with different doses, we have found that each irradiated surface exhibits two depth levels which are attributed to a rough surface and a bottom of surface nanoholes, respectively. Even in an area with the lowest dose (1.5 × 1022 e/cm2) in this experiment we have observed distinctive STM contrasts, the arrangement and sizes of which are similar to those of the well-developed surface nanoholes observable by TEM. This STM observation shows that the arrangement of nanoholes on an electron exit surface is set up at the very early stage, followed by the excavating of nanoholes under prolonged electron irradiation. We suggest that nanoholes exist in the early stage when only a few atomic layers are removed from the initial surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-554
Number of pages8
JournalSurface Science
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Silicon
  • Surface defects
  • Surface diffusion
  • Surface structure, morphology, roughness and topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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