Leveraging Single Atom Dynamics to Measure the Electron-Beam-Induced Force and Atomic Potentials

Illustration of applying the observation of atomic motion in combination with molecular dynamics to retrieve the atomic potential and force imparted by the electron beam to the atom


Ondrej Dyck, Feng Bao, Maxim Ziatdinov, Ali Yousefzadi Nobakht, Seungha Shin, Kody Law, Artem Maksov, Bobby G Sumpter, Richard Archibald, Stephen Jesse, Sergei V Kalinin, "Leveraging Single Atom Dynamics to Measure the Electron-Beam-Induced Force and Atomic Potentials", Microscopy and Microanalysis, 24(S1), 2018


In the last decade many examples of electron-beam-mediated chemical transitions have emerged, driving forward the idea that the transmission electron microscope may be utilized as an atomic scale fabrication platform. However, precise knowledge of the undergirding beam-sample interactions at the atomic scale is still lacking. In order to harness the variety of reaction pathways observed under electron beam irradiation, account must be taken of not only the atomic potentials within the sample but also energy deposited by the beam. Here, we show that a single dopant Si atom in a graphene lattice can be used as an atomic scale force sensor, uncovering information on the random force exerted by the electron beam on chemically-relevant time scale. Using a stochastic reconstruction of molecular dynamic simulations, we recover the potential energy landscape of the atom, and leverage this information to determine the experimental beam-induce force. We further demonstrate that a moving atom attached to a graphene step edge can be used to map potential energy along the edge. These studies open the pathway for quantitative studies of beam-induced atomic dynamics and predictive atom-by-atom fabrication.

Read Publication