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Rev Sci Instrum. 2007 Mar;78(3):033905.

An instrument to investigate femtochemistry on metal surfaces in real space.

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Institut für Festkörperphysik, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Appelstrasse 2, D-30167 Hannover, Germany.


A newly established combination of a femtosecond laser with a low temperature scanning tunneling microscope is described, which facilitates one to analyze femtochemistry on metal surfaces in real space. The combined instrument enables focusing the laser to some tens of micrometers and guiding it reproducibly into the tunneling gap with the aid of in situ movable mirrors. Furthermore, a method to determine the focus size on the sample is presented. The focus size is used to calculate the electron and phonon temperatures at the surface. Despite the additional noise introduced by laser operation the vertical resolution of the microscope lies below 1 pm. The potential of the instrument is demonstrated on para-chloronitrobenzene clusters adsorbed on Au(111). Single chloronitrobenzene molecules diffuse upon femtosecond laser irradiation; some smaller clusters rotate by multiples of 30 degrees ; clusters of less compact form rearrange to close-packed clusters.

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