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J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Nov 15;128(45):14721-7.

Toward Raman fingerprints of single dye molecules at atomically smooth Au(111).

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  • 1Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Faradayweg 4-6, 14195 Berlin, Germany.


The creation of a highly enhanced electromagnetic (EM) field underneath a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip enables Raman spectroscopic studies of organic submonolayer adsorbates at atomically smooth single crystalline surfaces. To study the sensitivity of this technique, tip-enhanced resonance Raman (TERR) spectra of the dye malachite green isothiocyanate on Au(111) in combination with the corresponding STM images of the probed surface region were analyzed. The detection limit for unambiguous identification of the dye and semiquantitative determination of the surface coverage reaches < or =0.7 pmol/cm(2), or approximately five molecules present in the enhanced-field region, which is confirmed by STM images. Because of well-defined adsorption sites at atomically smooth Au(111) surfaces, no variation in band positions or relative band intensities was observed at the single- or few-molecule detection level when employing TERR spectroscopy.

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