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I Understanding Quantum Corral images

  1. Jan 2, 2017 #1
    Hello Forum,

    The iconic images of quantum corrals are made by assembling individual atoms using a STM.
    I am still unclear on what the image is truly representing. Do the ripples represent the probability density? Of what? How is that possible? I can see how we can mathematically calculate and graph wavefunctions and associated probability density functions but I don't see how we can physically see them with the STM...

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2017 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The high spots in the image are regions where the current through the tip of the STM is greater.
  4. Jan 13, 2017 #3


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    Been a while since this very correct answer was given. Is fog completely happy with this answer ? Because I'm still curious to know what causes this current to vary (which it doesn't for the 'constant current' practical implementations where the tip is moved up and down :smile:). Under Procedure (NOT under Principle of operation) I find that the tunneling current depends on the density of states. The TeachersManual is a bit more elaborate: On p 5 the work functions of tip and sample are featuring, and again the densities (tip and sample) of states.

    Wonderful ! And all this info with just a little Googling. Time to brush up solid state physics, Fermi levels and such !
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