Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) imaging was performed on goldsurfaces with a large coverage of monodispersed silver nanoparticlessoft-landed on the surface from the gas phase. In both ambient and ultra-highvacuum conditions, STM scanning was found to displace the particles out ofthe scanning area, due to weak adhesion of the particles to the substratesurface. Calculations based on contact mechanics and electrostatics show thatthe particles can overcome the force of adhesion to the surface and jump ontothe STM tip beyond the tunnelling distance. The observation provides thepossibility for patterning or arranging nanoparticles on a surface, which isdemonstrated, and offers the potential for a multiplexed approach to createvery precise surface patterns and particle arrangements.
Pub Type: Journals