We propose a method to determine the direction of surface magnetization and local magnetic moments on the atomic scale. The method comprises high resolution scanning tunnelling microscope experiments in conjunction with first principles simulations of the tunnelling current. The potential of the method is demonstrated on a model system, antiferromagnetic Mn overlayers on W(1 1 0). We expect that it will ultimately allow to study the detailed changes of magnetic surface structures in the vicinity of dopants or impurities. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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