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Nano Lett. 2010 Feb 10;10(2):657-60. doi: 10.1021/nl903760k.

Surveying molecular vibrations during the formation of metal-molecule nanocontacts.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institute fuer Festkoerperforschung, Heisenbergstrasse 1, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany.


Molecular junctions have been characterized to determine the influence of the metal contact formation in the electron transport process through a single molecule. With inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy and first-principles calculations, the vibration modes of a carbon monoxide molecule have been surveyed as a function of the distance from a copper electrode with unprecedented accuracy. We observe a continuous but nonlinear blue shift of the frustrated rotation mode in tunneling with decreasing distance followed by an abrupt softening upon contact formation. This indicates that the presence of the metal electrode sensibly alters the structural and conductive properties of the junction even without the formation of a strong chemical bond.

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