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ACS Nano. 2014 Jul 22;8(7):7099-105.

Resonant-enhanced spectroscopy of molecular rotations with a scanning tunneling microscope.


We use rotational excitation spectroscopy with a scanning tunneling microscope to investigate the rotational properties of molecular hydrogen and its isotopes physisorbed on the surfaces of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), grown on Ni(111), Ru(0001), and Rh(111). The rotational excitation energies are in good agreement with ΔJ = 2 transitions of freely spinning p-H2 and o-D2 molecules. The variations of the spectral line shapes for H2 among the different surfaces can be traced back to a molecular resonance-mediated tunneling mechanism. Our data for H2/h-BN/Rh(111) suggest a local intrinsic gating on this surface due to lateral static dipoles. Spectra on a mixed monolayer of H2, HD, and D2 display all three J = 0 → 2 rotational transitions, irrespective of tip position, thus pointing to a multimolecule excitation, or molecular mobility in the physisorbed close-packed layer.


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