Initiating and imaging the coherent surface dynamics of charge carriers in real space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Bath

Abstract

The tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope is an atomic-scale source of electrons and holes. As the injected charge spreads out, it can induce adsorbed molecules to react. By comparing large-scale 'before' and 'after' images of an adsorbate covered surface, the spatial extent of the nonlocal manipulation is revealed. Here, we measure the nonlocal manipulation of toluene molecules on the Si(111)-7 × 7 surface at room temperature. Both the range and probability of nonlocal manipulation have a voltage dependence. A region within 5-15 nm of the injection site shows a marked reduction in manipulation. We propose that this region marks the extent of the initial coherent (that is, ballistic) time-dependent evolution of the injected charge carrier. Using scanning tunnelling spectroscopy, we develop a model of this time-dependent expansion of the initially localized hole wavepacket within a particular surface state and deduce a quantum coherence (ballistic) lifetime of ∼10 fs.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number12839
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2016