Intramolecular structure of individual organic molecules by Atomic Force Microscopy


César Moreno Sierra

ICYS-Sengen Researcher


The ability to resolve atomic and bond distribution of single molecules by atomic force microscopy (AFM) has made recently enormous advances. Imaging the Pauli repulsive forces, responsible of intra-molecular resolution with AFM, require at present complex operation conditions, limiting this imaging capability to a few groups worldwide.

 Here, we present a study of flat-lying pentacene and three-dimensional C60 single molecules on the TiO2-(101) anatase surface, as archetypical organic small molecules broadly used in organic electronics devices. By means of a combined atomic-resolution AFM and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) the intra-molecular structure of both planar (pentacene) and three-dimensional (C60) molecules was successfully achieved  using less demanding operation conditions, allowing us to put insight in the adsorption geometry (shape, size and relative position) of these single molecules on TiO2 surface with atomic accuracy.