A nanometer-scale surface modification of tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) in organic solvent was performed using a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). The surface modification was attributed to localized field evaporation upon applying 10 V between the tunneling gap. White light sparking beneath the STM tip (nanospark) was observed during and after the surface modification. The addition of ionic species into the otherwise pure solvent also induced a nanospark even when applying lower voltages, but in this case, surface modification did not occur. Thus, it is proposed that a part of the ITO becomes dissolved in solution as ions, which results in electron avalanche in the presence of these induced ions.
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