Microscopy with a single-molecule scanning electrometer

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Science Advances  29 Jun 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 6, eaat5472
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5472


The vibrational spectrum of a single carbon monoxide molecule, adsorbed on the tip apex of a scanning tunneling microscope, is used to image electrostatic fields with submolecular spatial resolution. The method takes advantage of the vibrational Stark effect to image local electrostatic fields and the single-molecule sensitivity of tip-enhanced Raman scattering (TERS) to optically relay the signal. We apply the method to single metalloporphyrins adsorbed on Au(111) to image molecular charges, intramolecular polarization, local photoconductivity, atomically resolved hydrogen bonds, and surface electron density waves.

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