Manipulations with Atoms and Clusters
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The investigation and fabrication of nanometer-scale structures becomes a reality due to the development of scanning tunneling microscopy and related techniques. The final goal, manipulations with the individual atoms and molecules, has been achieved. D.M. Eigler used the scanning tunneling microscope (working at low temperatures ca. 4 K) to position individual xenon atoms on a single-crystal nickel surface with atomic precision. Mesoscopic systems composed of metallic or non-metallic clusters are intensively studied because of their new and interesting properties, and perspectives of subsequent application in nanolithography in order to create various structures of a very high degree of miniaturization. In this review, (i) the potential of scanning probe microscopes for revealing subtle details of surfaces down to atomic resolution is presented, (ii) a variety of different atomic manipulations processes and other surface modifications are reviewed against the background of different, more or less universal approaches, and finally (iii) a few examples of cluster surface structures created and/or modified by means of scanning tunneling microscope are demonstrated.
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