How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface?

Autor(en): Ostendorf, F.
Schmitz, C.
Hirth, S.
Kuehnle, A.
Kolodziej, J. J.
Reichling, M. 
Stichwörter: AFM; ATOMIC-FORCE MICROSCOPY; Materials Science; Materials Science, Multidisciplinary; MUSCOVITE; Nanoscience & Nanotechnology; PARTICLES; Physics; Physics, Applied; SCALE FRICTION; Science & Technology - Other Topics; SHEETS; SIZE DEFECTS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2008
Volumen: 19
Ausgabe: 30
Muscovite mica is an important mineral that has become a standard substrate, due to its easy cleavage along the {001} planes, revealing a very flat surface that is compatible with many biological materials. Here we study mica surfaces by dynamic atomic force microscopy (AFM) operated in the non-contact mode (NC-AFM) under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions. Surfaces produced by cleaving in UHV cannot be imaged with NC-AFM due to large surface charges; however, cleavage in air yields much less surface charge and allows for NC-AFM imaging. We present highly resolved NC-AFM images of air-cleaved mica surfaces revealing a rough morphology originating from a high density of nanometre-sized particles. Among these particles, we find regularly shaped structures indicating the growth of crystallites on the surface. The contamination layer cannot be removed by degassing in UHV; even prolonged heating at a temperature of 560 K under UHV conditions does not yield an atomically flat surface.
ISSN: 09574484
DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/19/30/305705

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