Quantitative mapping of fast voltage pulses in tunnel junctions by plasmonic luminescence
An optical read-out technique is demonstrated that enables mapping the time-dependent electrostatic potential in the tunnel junction of a scanning tunneling microscope with millivolt and nanosecond accuracy. We measure the time-dependent intensity of plasmonic light emitted from the tunnel junction upon excitation with a nanosecond voltage pulse. The light intensity is found to be a quantitative measure of the voltage between tip and sample. This permits non-invasive mapping of fast voltage transients directly at the tunnel junction. Knowledge of the pulse profile reaching the tunnel junction is applied to optimize the experiment's time response by actively shaping the incident pulses. (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.