How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface?

Ostendorf F, Schmitz C, Hirth S, Kühnle A, Kolodziej JJ, Reichling M (2008)
Nanotechnology 19(30): 305705.

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Muscovite mica is an important mineral that has become a standard substrate, due to its easy cleavage along the {001} planes, revealing a very flat surface that is compatible with many biological materials. Here we study mica surfaces by dynamic atomic force microscopy (AFM) operated in the non-contact mode (NC-AFM) under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions. Surfaces produced by cleaving in UHV cannot be imaged with NC-AFM due to large surface charges; however, cleavage in air yields much less surface charge and allows for NC-AFM imaging. We present highly resolved NC-AFM images of air-cleaved mica surfaces revealing a rough morphology originating from a high density of nanometre-sized particles. Among these particles, we find regularly shaped structures indicating the growth of crystallites on the surface. The contamination layer cannot be removed by degassing in UHV; even prolonged heating at a temperature of 560 K under UHV conditions does not yield an atomically flat surface.
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Ostendorf F, Schmitz C, Hirth S, Kühnle A, Kolodziej JJ, Reichling M. How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface? Nanotechnology. 2008;19(30): 305705.
Ostendorf, F., Schmitz, C., Hirth, S., Kühnle, A., Kolodziej, J. J., & Reichling, M. (2008). How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface? Nanotechnology, 19(30), 305705. doi:10.1088/0957-4484/19/30/305705
Ostendorf, F., Schmitz, C., Hirth, S., Kühnle, A., Kolodziej, J. J., and Reichling, M. (2008). How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface? Nanotechnology 19:305705.
Ostendorf, F., et al., 2008. How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface? Nanotechnology, 19(30): 305705.
F. Ostendorf, et al., “How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface?”, Nanotechnology, vol. 19, 2008, : 305705.
Ostendorf, F., Schmitz, C., Hirth, S., Kühnle, A., Kolodziej, J.J., Reichling, M.: How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface? Nanotechnology. 19, : 305705 (2008).
Ostendorf, Frank, Schmitz, Carsten, Hirth, Sabine, Kühnle, Angelika, Kolodziej, Jacek J., and Reichling, Michael. “How flat is an air-cleaved mica surface?”. Nanotechnology 19.30 (2008): 305705.
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