We present a new reliable method to prepare superconducting niobium (Nb) tips for scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS). Sharp Nb tips were fabricated by chemical etching using an electrolyte based on a hydrofluoric acid and hydrogen peroxide solution, followed by field evaporation utilizing field ion microscopy to remove Nb oxide layers from the tip apex. STM/STS measurements of Si(111) and Au(111) surfaces confirmed that the tips had atomic resolution capability together with bulk-like superconducting properties, indicating that the prepared Nb tips can be used as a unique probe for investigating local superconducting and magnetic properties on an atomic scale.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)