Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Abstract Resistive heating, emission heating or cooling (e.g., the Nottingham effect), and thermal fluctuation radiation are examples of energy exchange processes which are fundamental in electron field emission and in tunneling junctions of scanning tunneling microscopy. These exchange processes are analyzed for both electronic tunneling processes. We first discuss the energy delivered by a monoatomic tip in the field emission process. Strong phonon excitation is expected for field emission currents exceeding 1 nA. Secondly we present a theoretical calculation of the thermal deposition associated with the Nottingham effect in a tunneling junction. The calculation is based on the free electron model for the electrode materials and the tunneling process across a planar vacuum gap. Our results show that the thermal power is deposited not only at the electron receiving electrode but also at the emitting electrode. This originates from a finite probability for electrons below the Fermi level to tunnel through the tunneling barrier replaced by electrons starting from the Fermi level. The comparison between the calculations and the recent STM measurements is given. Finally we discuss the other energy exchange processes in the tunneling junction, and conclude that the thermal coupling between the tip and the sample of STM is extremely small under UHV conditions. This is important for high temperature STM.
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