Interaction of silicon dangling bonds with insulating surfaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University College London
  • Curtin University of Technology


We use first principles density functional theory calculations to study the interaction of a model dangling bond silicon tip with the surfaces of CaF2, Al2O3, TiO2, and MgO. In each case the strongest interaction is with the highest anions in the surface. We show that this is due to the onset of chemical bonding with the surface anions, which can be controlled by an electric field across the system. Combining our results and previous studies on semiconductor surfaces suggests that using dangling bond Si tips can provide immediate identification of surface species in atomically resolved noncontact atomic force microscopy and facilitate selective measurements of short-range interactions with surface sites.


Original languageEnglish
Article number036101
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Insulators, NC-AFM, Silicon, Simulation

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