New use found for tunneling microscope

Apr 23, 2007

Dutch researchers have found a new use for scanning tunneling microscopes: visualizing individual catalysts at work at a solid-liquid interface.

Johannes Elemans and colleagues at Radboud University said their new method could eliminate the process of measuring the ensemble properties of a large number of molecules.

The researchers formed arrays of large flat organic molecules, known as porphyrins, on a gold surface. The metal atom at the center of each porphyrin can react with oxygen to form a catalytic site, which can be used to convert one type of organic compound (an alkene) into another (an epoxide).

Using a scanning tunneling microscope, the team "watched" individual porphyrins at each step of the process. That offered a unique insight into how such reactions work at the single-molecule level, revealing information about catalyst activity, stability and distribution across the surface.

The method is detailed in the current issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: New absorber will lead to better biosensors

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Two-proton bit controlled by a single copper atom

Jan 16, 2014

Just a single foreign atom located in the vicinity of a molecule can change spatial arrangement of its atoms. In a spectacular experiment, an international team of researchers was able to change positions ...

Recommended for you

New absorber will lead to better biosensors

12 hours ago

Biological sensors, or biosensors, are like technological canaries in the coalmine. By converting a biological response into an optical or electrical signal, they can alert us to dangers in our external and internal environments. ...

Ultrafast remote switching of light emission

Sep 30, 2014

Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology can now for the first time remotely control a miniature light source at timescales of 200 trillionth of a second. They published the results on Sept. 2014 ...

Nanotube cathode beats large, pricey laser

Sep 30, 2014

Scientists are a step closer to building an intense electron beam source without a laser. Using the High-Brightness Electron Source Lab at DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a team led by scientist ...

User comments : 0