We used the mechanically controllable break junction technique to discriminate between the electric field and temperature effects in the process of surface modification. The electric field strength at the surface of electrodes was accurately determined using the field emission resonance spectra and was gradually raised to the point where surface modification starts. We found that only a limited number of metals with large values of the work function, 4.5-5 eV, and evaporation fields, 1.5-2 VÅ, can be modified in this way. Adsorption of He on the surface drastically increases the local work function of material and enables the field induced nanostructuring of the electrode surface practically for all metals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)