Molecules that suck

Nov 21, 2005

The interaction between the tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) and atoms or molecules bound to a surface can be used to construct impressive nanostructures, such as the 'quantum corral'.

As reported in the December issue of Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038/nmat1529), researchers combine STM manipulation techniques with the ability of a molecule to assemble nanostructures by sucking up and depositing atoms where needed.

The invention of the STM in the early 1980s was the catalyst of the nanoscale technological revolution, not only for imaging but also for interacting with matter at the atomic scale. Since then, progress in manipulation techniques has shown that the interaction of molecules with the surface of a metal can induce surface reconstruction. Francesca Moresco and colleagues now go a step further by moving and organizing metal atoms on a substrate with the help of a well-designed six-leg organic molecule.

The copper atoms trapped under the organic molecule can be further rearranged by bringing the whole system and its copper load to a specific position on the surface where the metal atoms can subsequently be released.

The authors believe that this versatile assembling approach should facilitate the interconnection of molecular devices to well-defined atomic-scale metallic electrodes on insulating surfaces, where STM has so far proved unsuccessful.

Source: Nature

Explore further: Single unlabelled biomolecules can be detected through light

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Finding the 'heart' of an obstacle to superconductivity

Jul 23, 2014

A team at Cornell and Brookhaven National Laboratory has discovered that previously observed density waves that seem to suppress superconductivity are linked to an electronic "broken symmetry," offering an ...

Recommended for you

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale

18 hours ago

University of Minnesota electrical engineering researchers have developed a unique nanoscale device that for the first time demonstrates mechanical transportation of light. The discovery could have major ...

Engineered proteins stick like glue—even in water

Sep 21, 2014

Shellfish such as mussels and barnacles secrete very sticky proteins that help them cling to rocks or ship hulls, even underwater. Inspired by these natural adhesives, a team of MIT engineers has designed ...

Smallest possible diamonds form ultra-thin nanothreads

Sep 21, 2014

For the first time, scientists have discovered how to produce ultra-thin "diamond nanothreads" that promise extraordinary properties, including strength and stiffness greater than that of today's strongest ...

User comments : 0