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: Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale

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

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale

2 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 ...

A nanosized hydrogen generator

Sep 20, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost ...

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

Sep 16, 2014

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

Sep 16, 2014

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

User comments : 0