Toward Ultrafast Movies of Moving Atoms

S. Weiss, D. Botkin, D.F. Ogletree, M. Salmeron and D.S. Chemla

By combining ultrashort laser pulses techniques with scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), we have developed an instrument that obtains simultaneous 2 psec time resolution and 50 Å spatial resolution. This is a nine orders of magnitude improvement over the time resolution previously attainable with STM. We have used this instrument to measure the response of the tunneling gap to excitation by a subpicosecond electrical pulse. Our technique is not limited to STM, and can be implemented in a variety of scanning probe microscopies, allowing the observation of ultrafast dynamics on the atomic scale.

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