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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Oct 4;111(14):146102. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Rotational and vibrational excitations of a hydrogen molecule trapped within a nanocavity of tunable dimension.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-4575, USA.


The rotational and vibrational transitions of a hydrogen molecule weakly adsorbed on the Au(110) surface at 10 K were detected by inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy with a scanning tunneling microscope. The energies of the j=0 to j=2 rotational transition for para-H(2) and HD indicate that the molecule behaves as a three-dimensional rigid rotor trapped within the tunnel junction. An increase in the bond length of H(2) was precisely measured from the downshift in the rotational energy as the tip-substrate distance decreases.

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