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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Oct 25;111(17):175303. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Distinction of nuclear spin states with the scanning tunneling microscope.

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Institute of Condensed Matter Physics (ICMP), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Station 3, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


We demonstrate rotational excitation spectroscopy with the scanning tunneling microscope for physisorbed H(2) and its isotopes HD and D(2). The observed excitation energies are very close to the gas phase values and show the expected scaling with the moment of inertia. Since these energies are characteristic for the molecular nuclear spin states we are able to identify the para and ortho species of hydrogen and deuterium, respectively. We thereby demonstrate nuclear spin sensitivity with unprecedented spatial resolution.

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