The upper image shows measurements of the 7x7 reconstruction of
a silicon surface. The lower shows the model for the same surface.
The similarity between measurement and model is striking. Both images
were taken from Surface Science Letters, 157, G. Binnig,
H. Rohrer, F. Salvan, Ch. Gerber, A. Baro, "Revisiting the
7x7 reconstruction of Si(111)", L373-L378, Copyright 1985,
with permission from Elsevier Science.
It took 10 months for the next paper to be submitted, in collaboration
with Salvan, Gerber, and Baro, to Surface Science Letters.
The images show their findings of the Si(111) 7x7 reconstruction.
They found three-fold symmetry for both n- and p-type with an occasional
missing maximum, attributable to a surface boron.
We are talking about doped silicon here, and about work going on
at IBM. Is there a computer chip connection? Was IBM was funding
STM research precisely in order to get leverage in electronic chip
research. As our interview reveals (members may click here),
the initiative was entirely Heinrich Rohrer's. It did not hurt that
IBM might have interest in tools with which to characterize silicon
crystal surfaces, but the IBM scientists were free to choose their
own research topics. The main reason, Binnig and Rohrer worked on
silicon surfaces was that surface scientists were generally interested
in it, and obviously their interest was prompted by the large field
of application in the computer industry. So there is a computer
chip connection, but it is a little roundabout.
Experimental details mentioned reveal the kind of resources required
to perform the experiment: the 7x7 reconstruction was generated
by annealing at 900-1200 degrees Celsius. The degree of contamination
was not checked by an independent method. The actual results were
checked against low energy electron diffraction and Auger electron
spectroscopy, though. They at first could only get images with voltages
above 2.5V and at 300 degrees Celsius, but found a mundane explanation.