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Intramolecular bonds resolved on a semiconductor surface

Sweetman, Adam; Jarvis, Samuel Paul; Rahe, Philipp; Champness, Neil R.; Kantorovich, Lev; Moriarty, Philip

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Adam Sweetman

Samuel Paul Jarvis

Philipp Rahe

Neil R. Champness

Lev Kantorovich


Noncontact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) is now routinely capable of obtaining submolecular resolution, readily resolving the carbon backbone structure of planar organic molecules adsorbed on metal substrates. Here we show that the same resolution may also be obtained for molecules adsorbed on a reactive semiconducting substrate. Surprisingly, this resolution is routinely obtained without the need for deliberate tip functionalization. Intriguingly, we observe two chemically distinct apex types capable of submolecular imaging. We characterize our tip apices by “inverse imaging” of the silicon adatoms of the Si(111)−7×7 surface and support our findings with detailed density functional theory (DFT) calculations. We also show that intramolecular resolution on individual molecules may be readily obtained at 78 K, rather than solely at 5 K as previously demonstrated. Our results suggest a wide range of tips may be capable of producing intramolecular contrast for molecules adsorbed on semiconductor surfaces, leading to a much broader applicability for submolecular imaging protocols.


Sweetman, A., Jarvis, S. P., Rahe, P., Champness, N. R., Kantorovich, L., & Moriarty, P. (2014). Intramolecular bonds resolved on a semiconductor surface. Physical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics, 90(16),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 15, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 16, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 16, 2016
Journal Physical Review B
Print ISSN 1098-0121
Electronic ISSN 1550-235X
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 90
Issue 16
Public URL
Publisher URL


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