SPM Laboratory Research
The Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) Lab is directed toward the fabrication and
characterization of semiconductor nanostructures to achieve a better understanding of the properties
and potentials of these structures. Research in this SPM Lab is closely connected to that within the
Laboratory for Electronic Materials [LEPM]
here at OU and in particular with the semiconductor portion of LEPM.
Interest within this portion is focused on narrow-bandgap III-V (e.g. InSb) and IV-VI (e.g. PbSe)
materials which are grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) by Prof.s M.B. Santos (Physics)
and Prof. P.J. McCann (Elec. Eng.)
The SPM laboratory works closely with these efforts to characterize the planar growth of these materials
in to heterostructures, such as quantum wells.
This research will be augmented with the recent purchase of an Omicron SPM to be installed on the
multi-chamber MBE system.
This "in situ" SPM will allow sample to be transferred back and forth between the growth and SPM chambers.
In the near future, we intend to use this equipment to study the growth of nanostructures through the use of
self-assembly observed in strained systems or "in situ"-patterned selective-area growth.
[in situ SPM]
Other areas of active research include cross-sectional scanning tunneling microscopy (XSTM) of semiconductor
heterostructures with IBM, Zurich and Scanning Probe Lithography with various collaborators. The former research
is a continuation of work using XSTM to characterize III-V heterostructures with atomic resolution and chemical sensitivity.
The latter research involves the use of scanning probe techniques to pattern, and a novel atomic fluorine beam to
etch, nanostructures in silicon. [SPM_Litho]
Finally, the SPM Lab has been directly involved with construction and development of tools for the fabrication
of simple electronic devices. Although this work is not directly associated with nanostructures, it is an important
first step for the ability to be able to make electrical contact to nanostructures.
Currently we have various simple tools at our disposal, and funding has been secured, and work has commenced,
on a Semiconductor Physics Fabrication Facility (SPiFF). SPiFF will be a Class 1,000/10,000 Clean facility for semiconductor processing.
SPiFF will greatly improve the ability to fabricate devices within LEPM and it will be crucial for our ability to
explore the physics of nanostructures fabricated at OU.