Morphology and local conductance of single crystalline Bi2Te3 thin films on mica
The relation between surface morphology and local conductance was studied for single crystalline thin films of Bi2Te3 grown on mica. Atomic force microscopy and electron diffraction revealed the hexagonal order of the surface with quintuple layer steps and spiral islands. Furthermore, the experiments using contact mode AFM with conducting tip performed at room temperature revealed the high conductance of the surface, which was locally reduced due to changes in the local electronic structure at the defects (e.g. edges of the terraces). Contact current–voltage characteristics tested over the surface showed a linear behavior in every point, with the resistance significantly lower than the resistance of reference metallic samples (gold, platinum). We show that local conductivity AFM is a good technique to exploit the peculiar surface properties of topological insulators.